Smith getting citizenship

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:08 AM ET

The longest active-playing Argonaut is about to take the steps needed to become a Canadian.

Cornerback Adrion (Pee Wee) Smith, who has played nine seasons for the Argos and will sign a contract later this week to begin his 10th season and 12th overall in the Canadian Football League, is scheduled to begin Canadian citizenship classes this Saturday. He said if all goes well, he will write a test on April 5 that will officially make him a Canadian, instead of a permanent resident.

"When my days of playing are over, I don't plan on going back to the States and making my life there," he said yesterday. "I've made a conscious decision to make life here in Canada. Why not become a Canadian citizen?"

The 33-year-old native of Kansas is married to a Canadian and has a son who was born in Canada.

Smith laughed when asked how much longer he'd like to play.

"When I leave this game I want to leave crying, kicking and screaming," he said. "I'm not putting a time frame on it. As long as I am productive I would like to continue playing. I don't want to say I want to play five more and ride into the sunset. I could play two more and feel if something else comes up outside of football that would peak my interest, maybe I would walk away then. But I want to stay a kid as long as I can."

UPDATE ON AVERY

Argos vice-president of football operations Adam Rita and offensive co-ordinator Kent Austin expressed hope that feature running back John Avery will be back with the team. However, Avery is still pondering whether to accept the team's demand to restructure his contract with a 50% pay cut from his salary of more than $250,000 a season.

It's believed the situation will be decided by March 1, if not sooner, when Avery is scheduled to receive a bonus as part of his contract.

EIBEN AND ENGLAND

Linebacker Kevin Eiben and defensive end Eric England are scheduled to become free agents on Feb. 16 and sources claim there's quite a gap between what they are seeking and what management is offering. Eiben, who led the league in tackles, is reportedly seeking a contract of at least $140,000 a season, which is about a 400% raise on his last contract. It's believed the Argos are offering between $80,000-$90,000.


Videos

Photos