Many happy returns

Mike 'Pinball' Clemons plants a kiss on the Grey Cup after the Argonauts rode the rails back to...

Mike 'Pinball' Clemons plants a kiss on the Grey Cup after the Argonauts rode the rails back to Toronto yesterday. 'I am captivated by this country,' the head coach beamed. (Toronto Sun/Craig Robertson)

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:10 AM ET

Damon Allen gave his Argonauts teammates a heartfelt speech on Sunday -- and then went out and helped win the Grey Cup.

Yesterday, Allen helped deliver Canadian football's silver mug to the people of Toronto via Union Station following a happy train ride from Ottawa. But the 41-year-old quarterback wasn't as verbose when asked about his future in the sport.

"In due time, hopefully we will make an announcement," Allen, who will be a free agent this off-season, said.

"All week long, (others) talked about that this was my last game if we win. But it's not about that. It's not too often you get a chance to go (to a championship game) and I just want to celebrate."

Allen, head coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons and the many other Argos did that just prior to the dinner hour yesterday, with approximately 100 loud fans who turned up at the downtown train station.

Allen and Clemons carried the Grey Cup into the station's Great Hall where they were met by flashbulbs and fans.

More of the same is expected today for the Grey Cup parade, which is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m., outside Union Station.

Allen, not unlike a few occasions during Sunday's 27-19 victory over the British Columbia Lions, was blitzed by reporters. And as he has done repeatedly, Clemons slipped into the background as Allen held court.

"There are a lot of moments that make this so special," Allen said. "Michael (Pinball) Clemons is the first African-American to coach a Grey Cup-winning team. Truly, he is an inspiration. I would run through a wall for this guy."

Allen, meanwhile, was one of the few members of the Argos entourage who didn't seem to be wiped out by a lack of sleep. Linebacker Mike O'Shea -- who once was involved in a trade that included Allen -- didn't get in one wink on Sunday night.

Clemons did infer the trip home was more subdued than what transpired the night before.

"Look at me," O'Shea said with a laugh. "Do I look like I got any sleep? I look like dirt."

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Clemons, who probably won't have to pay for a meal in Toronto ever again, is of the impression Allen will make a play to return next season.

"At the beginning of the year, I told him: 'Don't think about retiring,' " said Clemons, who gladly passed the Cup to fans and posed for countless pictures with them.

"The legend continues. Let's not take him out of his sneakers just yet."

Part of what could make Allen decide to return is the renewed public interest in the Argos, lifting the focus on the team to levels it has not experienced in years.

"(A lack of NHL) hockey has been a blessing, especially for the Argonauts," Allen said. "But this is a great sports town and it is really nice to be a part of it."


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