Becton to get his second start at outside linebacker


Don't look for any changes in the Baltimore CFLs' starting lineup when they travel to Winnipeg Thursday. Not after a 40-24 rout of Shreveport Saturday and not with an absence of serious injuries.

That means that Jesse Becton will start again at outside linebacker while Alvin Walton nurses a sore hamstring. Becton had been on the practice roster before making his first professional start Saturday, and he recovered two fourth-quarter fumbles.

"When you're around the ball, good things happen," he said.

Walton did some running on the sideline during yesterday's practice at Kirk Field and said his left leg is "getting better."

Ricky Andrews, normally a linebacker, made his first appearance as a rush end Saturday. He filled in for Malcolm Goodwin, who was placed on the practice roster with a shoulder injury.

Goodwin is healthy and will play Thursday as a backup rush end.

Receiver Robert Clark, who spent some time with the NFL's Detroit Lions, will be activated and take the place of reserve slotback Jimmy Guarantano.

Clark played in eight games with the Toronto Argonauts last year, making 50 catches for 800 yards and eight touchdowns.

King gets lighter cast

Rush end William King should be more comfortable Thursday with a lighter cast on his left hand. He suffered a torn ligament in his thumb during the first half of Saturday's game. He returned in the second half after being fitted with a bulky cast, but had to play with one arm.

King had just gotten back up after being blocked, and he jammed his thumb while trying to make a tackle.

"I knew something was wrong. I tried to straighten it up and it wouldn't move," he said.

He later compounded the problem by falling on the thumb. "I kept playing, but finally I knew I had to come out. They X-rayed it and saw there was no break or cracks in the bone."

Matthews likes Kirk Field

The CFLs practiced on Kirk Field for the first time yesterday, and coach Don Matthews was impressed with the playing surface.

"It's a great field. It's level, it's soft and it's got good grass on it. It's going to be a good practice facility for us," he said.

If only Matthews could do something about the weather. Another heavy rainstorm in the afternoon interrupted practice yesterday after a little more than an hour, and the coach was thinking about beginning today's session at 1 p.m. or 1:30 p.m instead of 2:30 p.m.

"It starts raining late in the afternoon out there, so I've got to get them on the field sooner," he said.

Not everyone had an easy time finding the new practice site, which is a short distance from Memorial Stadium. Receiver Eddie Britton and cornerback Karl Anthony arrived as everyone else was stretching. The players drove to Kirk Field, and Britton and Anthony took a wrong turn.

Many of the CFLs made clucking sounds when they spotted their tardy teammates. Anyone showing up late is supposed to contribute money toward a chicken dinner for the entire squad.

"Welcome to the chicken coop," one player yelled.

Eye contact . . . touchdown

Slotback Shawn Beals made one of the bigger catches in Saturday's victory when he broke open down the middle and hauled in a pass from Tracy Ham that went for 52 yards. But he seems to be getting more attention for a 1-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter.

On that play, Ham was stacked up at the line of scrimmage on a quarterback draw, then turned to his right and found Beals -- who thought his only role would be as a blocker -- just before officials blew the play dead.

"My job was minimal," said Beals. "All I was doing was running my guy off. I was looking back on the play to see if [Ham] got in or not. We made eye contact, and he threw it to me. We were on the same page."

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