Allen's back for more

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

At age 41, Old Man Allen is ready to take another kick at the Cup.

Quarterback Damon Allen, the oldest player in the Canadian Football League last year, yesterday signed up for another two years with the Argos. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Allen will get roughly $250,000 a season.

"If I can play two years and play at a high level, why not play?" he said. "Once I'm done, I'm done. As of right now, I know I can play at a high level and still be one of the better players in the league."

Allen proved his value to the team last year, returning from a fractured left tibia midway through the season and came back to play in the Grey Cup game, in which he was picked the most valuable player.

"He's not done," said vice-president of football operations Adam Rita, who has been involved with Allen as either a coach and/or general manager in various stages of the player's 20-year CFL career.

Allen said the only time he considered retirement was when he was asked about it during Grey Cup week last year. He also said he never considered free agency as an option.

"When you become a free agent you don't know what you're worth and all nine teams might have said, 'We don't want you' and I might have had to play in the Arena league," he said jokingly.

"I belong in the CFL. It's really not about money. It's about winning championships."

Known as the Living Legend, Allen has set just about every professional record in his career. He has a chance to add one more to his glittering resume -- career passing yards. He has 64,240, which is 6,313 shy of Warren Moon's mark accomplished in 23 seasons, the first six with Edmonton before embarking on an NFL career.

"They say records are meant to be broken, but I'd rather win a championship than have that record," he said. "If you could guarantee anything, I'd take that."

While Allen is projected at this point as the Argos starter, the team is looking at other prospects, in particular younger ones as heir apparents. And that's okay with Allen.

"At my stage of my career, I don't want to be given anything," he said.

"Damon is our No. 1 quarterback," Rita said. "People are going to chase his butt like they always do and he's always going to be a step ahead of them. Well maybe a half step."

Rita emphasized the importance of Allen's return.

"We have a lot of confidence in Damon," he said. "He gives us a peace, a calming effect, much like (coach Pinball Clemons)."

While Allen's tenure in Toronto has been marked by injuries both seasons -- he ran into a camera cart in his first season and misaligned one side of his body, and last year he fractured his left tibia in the ninth game of the season when an opposing player ran into him -- Rita said they had nothing to do with Allen's age.

"They had to do with being in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.


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