Friday, July 8, 2011

Sorry, Wikipedia, Matt Lambros is not dead yet

Montreal Alouettes' receiver Matt Lambros has to feel like a certain famous plague victim; every time he protests that he's not yet dead yet, others try to whack him over the head with Wikipedia and put him on the cart. As The Gazette's Herb Zurkowsky writes, Lambros' Wikipedia page reported he'd died in a October car accident for several months last winter, and it proved notoriously difficult to correct the report.

"To this day, I still don't know who was behind it," Lambros said Saturday, after the Als held one afternoon workout at Bishop's University under cool and windy conditions - the first time in a week the team has received a break from the heat. "I assumed some friends had done it as a joke. I knew something was wrong when I started receiving text messages from high-school friends, making sure I was okay."

Even Marcel Desjardins, the Als' assistant general manager, contacted Lambros's agent, Montreal's Darren Gill, for confirmation the prospect hadn't reached room temperature.

"There was," Desjardins said, attempting to conceal his laughter, "no indication that he no longer was breathing."

Almost all of the 18 million articles that appear on Wikipedia can be edited by anyone with access to the site, Gill discovered. For every time Gill went in and edited Lambros's death notice, it just as quickly was changed back, although it finally has been corrected - both Lambros and Gill hope for good.

"He was just as frustrated," Gill said. "It's weird.

"But it'll be a good story if he can make it."

Lambros is a good story all on his own, though. The 6'2'', 210-pound non-import receiver was chosen by Toronto in the second round of the 2009 Canadian college draft after a successful career with the NCAA Division I FCS Liberty University Flames. He actually attended Liberty, a private Christian university in Virginia, after he was recommended to Flames' head coach Danny Rocco by current Toronto Argonauts' coach and general manager Jim Barker. Lambros, the son of former Eskimos' linebacker Mike Lambros. Barker coached the Stampeders in 2003 and went back in 2005 as general manager, but ran a football camp for high-school prospects in between, and Lambros was one of his attendees. Barker sent video of Lambros off to Liberty and helped him land a slot there; Lambros repaid the Flames by helping them to Big South Conference championships in 2007 and 2008.

Toronto drafted Lambros in 2009, and he made an impression at first. He was cut in training camp but earned a practice-roster slot and suited up for their first game against Hamilton, where he caught a 22-yard pass for a touchdown. It would turn out to be his only reception of the year, though; he played in the next two games, but was mostly limited to special-teams duty, and wound up blowing out his ACL in the third game of the season while on kickoff coverage. He made it back to training camp with the Argos in 2010, but was released last June.

Now, Lambros is set for another shot at the CFL, and he may have a good chance to perhaps help replace the legendary Ben Cahoon in the Alouettes' receiving corps. He'll have to compete with the likes of Danny Desriveaux and Eric Deslauriers, but both are older and have their own injury issues to worry about. Contrary to Wikipedia, Lambros has not kicked the bucket, shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible. He's not dead yet, and his CFL career may still be alive as well.

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