Thursday October 02, 2014


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Al’s Calvillo getting better with age


By Bruce Penton


Age usually takes a toll on an athlete. It’s rare that like fine wine, an athlete’s performance improves with age.
So how does one explain Anthony Calvillo?
Sure, the California native is surrounded by a great supporting cast with the Montreal Alouettes, but in a brutal sport such as professional football, most quarterbacks accumulate a variety of bumps and bruises and lose the zip on their throws as they approach 40 years of age. That lack of zip results in passes falling short or more of them getting picked off.
So how does one explain the performance of Calvillo, the native of California who is in his 18th season in the Canadian Football League? Through the first three weeks of the 2011 season, Calvillo has been on fire, throwing 10 touchdown passes and leading the Als to a 3-0 record. Along the way, the 38-year-old Calvillo, a three-time winner of the CFL’s most outstanding player award, surpassed Damon Allen’s record for most career touchdown passes. Before he’s finished, he may set the TD-pass bar so high it may be unbreakable.
“Never in my life,” Als slotback S.J. Green told Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail, “have I seen anything like him. He’s amazing.”
A finely-tuned athlete can occasionally defy the odds and perform at a high level longer than most, but how can one call Calvillo finely-turned? He underwent thyroid cancer surgery in the most recent off-season, a situation that would send almost all 38-year-olds to retirement, but for Calvillo, all he did after surgery was shrug his shoulders and give his coaches a ‘let’s-get-back-at-it’ approach.
“A lot of athletes can be great one day and not so great the next,” offensive lineman Scott Flory, who has played with Calvillo for 13 years,  told Gordon. “To have that level of consistency is the true mark of greatness, in my opinion.”
Calvillo has been through his wife’s cancer scare, a cancer scare of his own, and now the only ‘scare’ involved in his life is the look on the faces of CFL defensive backs when he drops back into the pocket to make more history. He has won three Grey Cup games (but lost five) and says he wants to achieve at least a .500 record in grey Cups before he retires.
History suggests to never count him out.


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