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Quarterback Ricky Santos among players released by Argos

The Toronto Argonauts released 16 players Wednesday, including the Montreal Alouettes' former No. 3 quarterback Ricky Santos and veteran 2011 starters cornerback Sean Smalls and linebacker Anthony Cannon, as the CFL team cuts back toward a final roster of 46 before Saturday's deadline. Two players were also put on the nine-game injury reserved list – wide receiver Djems Kouame who suffered a lower left leg injury in Tuesday's 25-20 exhibition win over the Montreal Alouettes and left the field on a cart, and quarterback Zach Collaros, who has an ankle injury.

Santos' departure, after less than a week in camp, was pushed along by the stellar performance of Trevor Harris, who threw for two touchdowns Tuesday (ironically, to a pair of receivers who got lopped, rookie wide receiver Jessie Hubbard and slotback/wide receiver Samie Parker).

Santos was 2-for-2 in the final quarter for 23 yards. There was some thought he'd been brought into camp by head coach (and former Montreal offensive co-ordinator) Scott Milanovich, as a strategy to "confront" backup quarterback Jarious Jackson and get him to be more productive than he had been in the first exhibition against Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

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Milanovich denied it. "That had nothing to do with it. I made it clear to Jarious we weren't bringing in someone to take his job," he said.

Jackson has a line on the backup QB job behind Ricky Ray.

"He's a veteran leader and there's a comfort level with Ricky... We challenged him this week and said 'Jarious we need you to play better.' He had a great week of practice.

"We're upfront with (players) and are always honest with them. We're not going to make changes without telling them there's something wrong. It wasn't that extreme with Jarious. Last week we thought he could play a little better and we told him so."

Three non-imports were released: defensive tackle Gregory Alexandre of Montreal; fullback Aaron Crawford of Halifax St. Mary's; and defensive back Shea Pierre of Windsor.

The import cuts: defensive back Raymond Brown of Kansas; linebacker Anthony Cannon of Tulane; wide receiver Patrick Carter of Louisville; defensive back Matt Estrada of Northern Arizona; defensive back Christian Golder of Lindenwood; offensive lineman Stephen Good of Oklahoma; defensive back Javes Lewis of Oregon; wide receiver/slotback Samie Parker of Oregon; quarterback Ricky Santos of New Hampshire; cornerback Sean Smalls of Massachusetts; offensive lineman Darion Smith of Alabama-Birmingham; and wide receiver Sammy Tranks of Seton Hill.

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Sports reporter

James Christie written sports for the Globe on staff since 1974, covering almost all beats and interviewed the big names from Joe DiMaggio, to Muhammad Ali, to Jim Brown to Wayne Gretzky. Also covered the 10 worst years in Toronto Maple Leafs hockey history. More

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