Allen not sweating contract

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:35 AM ET

Damon Allen has played in the Canadian Football League too long to worry about a contract.

The 41-year-old future Hall of Famer has yet to re-sign with the Argos, whom he guided to a Grey Cup title last year with a 27-19 win over B.C., although a contract has been offered.

"Let's just say we're talking," Argos vice-president of football operations Adam Rita said this week without saying whether Allen rejected the offer.

Allen declined to discuss the details of the contract offer -- last year he received a base stipend of $160,000, although he reportedly had marketing opportunities to increase his salary -- or if he has any imminent plans to sign. But he said that after 20 years in the league he is not concerned.

"I'm doing what I have to do," he said. "I don't worry about those things. I don't lose any sleep. If it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be. I guess that's why I've always been a nomad, playing for so many teams. Someone in the league once said I'm a nomad, that's Damon spelled backwards, but my moving around wasn't always because of me. There were only two times I actually moved. The rest was pretty much that I was forced out or traded, but that hasn't stopped me from being part of a Grey Cup team."

Allen was voted the Most Valuable Player in last year's Cup, prompting team owners David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski to publicly state they wanted Damon back again. Now it seems it's just a question if they can agree a deal suitable to both the player and the team.

And even if Allen signs a deal he is not sure how it will impact on if the team signs another quarterback prospect, particularly a younger one. That happened to Allen two years ago in B.C. when the Lions signed Dave Dickenson, who is 10 years younger and returned to the CFL after two seasons of trying to establish himself in the National Football League.

BIDDING WAR

In 2000 he was voted the Most Valuable Player in the CFL and his return led to a bidding war which the Lions won and ended Allen's seven-year stay in Edmonton.

"The situation is the same as it was in B.C." Allen said. "They have to continue to look to the future because I can't play forever, regardless of whether they say I can play two, three or four more years.

"I'm not sure if there is a halt in the contract talks. My situations is a little bit different and unique (because of the age factor). They still have to look for a quarterback.

"This has nothing to do with what you can do. It's just the business of football."

It's expected the Argos will try to add another quarterback or two, perhaps through their negotiation list, a trade or through the CFL free agency route, commencing Feb. 16.

REWARDING THE COACH

The Argos are reportedly rewarding coach Pinball Clemons for winning the 2004 Grey Cup. Rogers Sportsnet reported on its web site that Clemons will earn close to $400,000 annually, roughly double what he made last year.

FOR A GOOD CAUSE

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Argos head coach Pinball Clemons along with receiver Tony Miles and long-snapper Randyt Srochenski will visit Howard Public School today to encourage students to read.


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