Eric Crouch is returning to football, but not with the Argos and not as a quarterback. Crouch, who is on the Argos' negotiation list and spent a couple of days in Toronto last year visiting the city and the team's facility, has accepted an offer from the Kansas City Chiefs.
But Crouch, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2001 with the University of Nebraska as a quarterback, will be allocated by the Chiefs to NFL Europe as a safety prospect.
The player's agent, Jim Steiner, informed Argos player personnel director Greg Mohns a couple of days ago that the 26-year-old Crouch wanted to take another shot at the NFL. He has had tries with the St. Louis Rams and Green Bay Packers, but principally at positions other than quarterback. NFL teams like his speed and athleticism, but the knock on the six-footer is his lack of size and arm strength to play at the NFL level.
Last year, he turned to working full-time in a business in Omaha, but accepted the Argos' offer to come to Toronto in the fall because of the team's sincere desire to let him play quarterback.
There is a general belief that Crouch could succeed in the CFL as a quarterback because of his speed and mobility.
"There is no reason not to keep him on the negotiation list," Mohns said. "If we would have gotten something done (in terms of contract), he'd have spent all spring with a quarterback guru to get his skills back."
It's still expected the Argos will sign at least one more quarterback to their roster, either via free agency or a trade. Damon Allen is scheduled to become a free agent on Feb. 16 and so far has rejected the team's initial offer.
Backup Michael Bishop is currently playing in the Arena League and is under contract to the Argos. Two other players, Romaro Miller and Scott Krause, are also under contract, but neither figured significantly last year and, at best, are considered developing prospects.
The agent for Arland Bruce, the star receiver/return specialist who is entering his option year with the Argos, is talking with the team about extending the deal, while also exploring interest in the NFL. Bruce already has had one year in the NFL but didn't play much and so far the market in the NFL for CFL players is soft ... Montreal Alouettes' backup offensive lineman Sherko Haji-Rasouli, who is from Toronto, is expected to sign with either Hamilton or the Argos when he becomes a free agent on Feb. 16 to play closer to home, according to sources.