Rison takes on coaching role

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

Andre Rison wore a coach's jersey over top of practice jersey yesterday, indicative of his new role with the Argos.

Rison will do that dual role for the rest of the season with Toronto, although he'll be giving up his playing uniform for at least tomorrow's game in Calgary to concentrate solely on coaching the receivers.

"I'm still hungry for the No. 1 trophy of being the best (receiver of all time), but it's a testament to how I've matured," the 37-year-old veteran said yesterday.

"Normally I wouldn't take on that responsibility because it would be like, 'well, now he's a player/coach.' No, I'm still a go-to guy."

Rison joined the team in mid-August and has caught 14 passes for 174 yards and posted one touchdown in five games. He caught four passes for 53 yards in Toronto's 22-16 win over B.C. on Monday.

With receiver Tony Miles and return specialist Bashir Levingston fully recovered from injuries, Rison and fellow receiver Johnnie Mitchell became the odd men out.

Rison has been working with the Argos receiving corps since he joined the team.

Head coach Pinball Clemons said the role of playing/coach "puts more teeth" into the role Rison had already been doing.

"I'm teaching on the run and teaching myself," Rison said. "It's a new game for me as well. It's like a roller-coaster. All this happened so fast. I came here to play; to show people I could play this game at a high level. I don't think they'd trade in the big plays I'm made so far just to be a coach. I'm going to play, I'm going to start, do what I'm doing and get better, but at the same time I will be tending to these young stallions I've got."

With a surplus of receivers, it remains to be seen how much playing time Rison will receive in the final two games after tomorrow and in the playoffs.

Rison looked upon this latest episode in his career as a spiritual reward for the work he's done in the past with various receivers.

"I've had in my stable of teammates the likes of some guys I would like to say I lent a helping hand to and created some success for them with the talent they already had," he said. "Some of these went on to be all-pros, Pro Bowlers, some signed for more money that can support this whole league.

"It just goes watered down, where here it's like a reward from the football guys telling me it hasn't been overlooked; that it was appreciated.

"If the Toronto Argonauts didn't appreciate not only my talents on the field but my knowledge of the game, the opportunity never would have been offered. That speaks for itself."


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