Polite eyes await the big night in British Columbia when Rush End debuts in Argos.

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To put it politely, Jachai Polite had no options in the NFL.

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When he became available, the Argos jumped at the opportunity to sign the Florida native.

He will make his CFL debut this Saturday night when Argos take on the host team the BBC Lions in a 1-0 two-team matchup.

British Columbia exits a week after crushing the visiting Edmonton Elks, while the Argos defeated Montreal after Toronto kicked off the season bye.

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While most eyes will be on Canadian quarterback Nathan Rourke as he makes his fourth career start for the Leos, a lot of curious onlookers will be paying close attention to Polite.

He may end up seeing a lot of Rourke if Polite can establish a presence at the end of the rush.

Polite is only 24 years old.

He has a football pedigree that earned Polite a third-round pick by the New York Jets.

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Players are labeled when a misdemeanor is committed or some opinion, which may or may not be based on reality, makes a round that prevents a player from earning a spot on the roster.

In Polite’s case, being late was a problem for the Jets and the club released him before Polite had played the game.

He did appear in 11 games for the Los Angeles Rams in 2020, the last time Polite dressed up for a regular season game.

Before joining the Rams, Polite signed with Seattle but was released.

Polite’s talent is undeniable.

He’ll get a chance for Argos after an injury to Shane Ray, who nailed a sack last week in a 20-19 win over Als.

Ray, who is dealing with a hamstring problem, is one of the many Argos treating some kind of soft tissue defect.

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The Argos don’t want to jeopardize the long-term future of players like Ray, fearing that any repetition will take them out of the roster for a long time.

The Polite One enters, biting the bit.

“I’m more than excited,” he said. “It was a long time ago”.

In fact, it is, and Polite hopes to make up for it by leaving everything on the BC Place field.

When it comes to Polite, his debut raises a lot of curiosity.

Polite played 32 games for the Florida Gators, recording 78 tackles, 26.5 tackles for a loss, 15 sacks, and eight forced fumbles.

During his time at university, Polit was named to the SEC First Team and earned an Associated Press All-American on the Second Team.

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He is still young and talented enough to warrant a return to the NFL.

He is grateful for the opportunity presented by Argos and aims to impress the Lions.

“I’m learning,” Polite said of the CFL game. “It’s fun and fast.”

He seems to be in good shape, but more will be known when the light comes on Saturday.

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NO REGULAR JOE

With Declan Cross unavailable, the Argos will turn to Canadian rookie Joe Carbone, who the club signed in the off-season as a free agent.

It’s been a wild ride for Carbone, but his path has put him in that position as he opens his CFL debut.

Carbone, who will line up in the tight end, played at the University of Windsor.

He also played at Mercyhurst University.

Carbone also attended the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

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His football journey also included attending St. Francis High School in Hamburg, New York and Lakeshore Catholic High School in Port Colborne.

“It was a blessing,” said Carbone, reflecting on the path that brought him to this stage of his football development. “There have been many ups and downs in my life, but in the end I am exactly where I was supposed to be and I am happy to be here.

“It’s just great to be back to work.”

Along the way, there were injuries, setbacks that made Carbone stronger and more determined to continue to pursue his professional goal.

“This is what I have wanted to do all my life and it is a blessing,” he added. “I’m from Ontario, a little further down the road, and I couldn’t have been in a better place.”

Needless to say, many family members and friends will be tuning in late Saturday night.

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“Everyone will watch it because it will be a first for me,” he continued. “They’re all excited and, like me, can’t wait.”

Carbone has no better mentor than Cross.

Carbone was sidelined when Argos started their season last week with mental reps.

Things sped up this week knowing that Carbone would make his first appearance in the roster.

Carbone brings physical presence.

One of the changes head coach Ryan Dinwiddie made to the offensive approach this year was to add a physical dimension in hopes of creating a hill running game.

Andrew Harris will make his second backfield start as the three-time Gray Cup champion returns to BC for the first time as Argo.

His Hall of Fame career began with the Leos, who made Harris their main player mid-season in 2011, the same year that BC won the Gray Cup in Vancouver.

fzicarelli@postmedia.com

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