Bishop may shun CFL

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

Michael Bishop is having too much shooting the Rapids he may not come back to Toronto.

Speaking in an Arena Football League conference call yesterday, the quarterback said he is unsure whether he will return to Toronto, which has him under contract this year for his option year, because it would mean having to go from a starting job to a backup role. He is currently starting -- and starring -- for Grand Rapids.

WANTS FAIR SHOT

"I have fun in the CFL and I enjoy the game, but at the same time I'm not going to put myself in a situation where I'm not going to be happy and I feel like I'm not getting a fair shot at (the starting job)," Bishop said. "Right here, I feel like I'm at peace with myself in Grand Rapids. I've got to take care of myself. If that means staying in Grand Rapids and playing in the AFL, then that's what I'm going to do."

Damon Allen is slated to go into training camp as the undisputed starter, which means Bishop will be relegated to a backup role, which has been the case for most of his three years with the Argos. He showed poise when pressed into a starting role for eight games last year while Allen recovered from a fractured tibia. Bishop also did a decent job in the Argos' Grey Cup win over B.C. last year while Allen had to miss some time with leg cramps.

"Any time I'm not on the field it's kind of difficult because I feel I want to be out there and doing things with the guys," Bishop said. "At the same time, that wasn't the situation in Toronto. I'm at the point now (that) I'm 28 years old, I need to make up my mind if I'm going to do this or do that. Right now, I'm at peace with myself and I'm getting a lot of respect not only from my teammates, but the coaching staff, the fans. I'm having fun with it."

Bishop has been lighting it up with Grand Rapids, completing 68 of 129 passes for 1,025 yards. He has 22 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He has a league-leading 217 rushing yards and is on pace to shatter the league's rushing record of 429 yards.

Argo player-personnel director Greg Mohns said the team is fully expecting Bishop to report to training camp. Mohns admitted there is a grey area with the player's contract. He said Bishop signed a two-year deal with Grand Rapids early in 2004, but already had agreed to a one-year deal with the standard option year with the Argos, although the contract wasn't registered until May. Mohns said because Bishop had signed the Arena League deal first the team could not prohibit him from returning.

"This has been beneficial for him to be able to gain some more playing time and playing experience as the starting quarterback," Mohns said. "He does have an obligation (to return) and he's telling us at the beginning of the (2004) season that everything is fine and he's planning on coming back.

"Whether he's having other thoughts I don't know and I don't want to comment on that. We'll cross that bridge at some point in time. If it turns out that he doesn't want to return, we will obviously have some legal options to pursue."

BRIEFLY

Backup defensive lineman Chuck Walsh has re-signed with the Argos.


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