Eiben gets huge raise

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

He became a starter in his fourth year, now Kevin Eiben is about to rewarded for it.

Eiben, who led the Canadian Football League last year with 110 tackles in his first full year as a starter, agreed yesterday to a three-year deal with an option for a fourth year that will pay him on and off the field.

A source said the linebacker will be paid between $85,000 to $90,000 a year, with some of his wages to be tied into working for the team in an off-season business capacity. The deal has various bonuses that potentially could pay Eiben in excess of $100,000 a season, tripling the $35,000 he made last season.

The signing will be made official tomorrow, along with news the Argos have extended the contracts off receivers Tony Miles, Arland Bruce and return specialist Bashir Levingston.

"I'm excited about everything they've given me," Eiben said from his off-season home in Delta, B.C. "I've always wanted to stay in T.O. and repeat as Grey Cup champions. I didn't want to go into free agency (which began early this morning) because I didn't want to upset Toronto. They offered all they could offer.

"It's not about money. It's about playing ball. I like my teammates and I like (Pinball Clemons) as a coach."

And he's excited about working for the team in the off-season.

"If I'm going to be living there year-round, I want to gain some experience in regards to my bachelor's degree in business and master's in sports management."

The Argos were reportedly close last night to re-signing defensive back Clifford Ivory, who was considering free agency and was seeking to upgrade his salary believed to be in the $55,000 range.

Defensive end Eric England had been in negotiations with the team, seeking to upgrade his salary, believed to be between $70,000 to $75,000 last year.

"I would love to stay in Toronto, but I want what's fair," he said.

Backup defensive lineman Chuck Walsh also is eligible for free agency.

Argo player-personnel director Greg Mohns did not expect the team to be active in the free-agent market.

Meanwhile, the Argos are courting Riall Johnson, a defensive lineman/linebacker who arrived yesterday for a two-day visit.

The Argos selected the 26-year-old, who has dual citizenship, in last year's supplemental draft for players who never had gone through the CFL draft. Johnson has four years experience in the National Football League, three with the Cincinnati Bengals, which drafted him out of Stanford in 2000, and one with the Denver Broncos.


Videos

Photos