Rita would like shot at Ray

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:59 AM ET

Damon Allen is like the Energizer bunny. And with 20 CFL seasons on the odometer, the veteran quarterback just keeps on going and going.

But while the 41-year-old grandfather of one was able to lead Toronto to a Grey Cup title last November and voted the game's most valuable player, he can't go on forever.

With no clear-cut choice as heir apparent in camp, the Argonauts' interest in free agent quarterback Ricky Ray comes as no surprise.

"We wish he was free and then we'd get him right away," chuckled Toronto's vice-president of football operations, Adam Rita, during a league-wide conference call yesterday.

"We bascially have inquired. Where it goes from here, we're not sure. We'd like to be a player in it. We'll proceed forward.

"It's not a secret that we'll eventually have to replace Damon. (Ray) is a great prospect and we'd like to have a shot at him."

Until recently, Heisman Trophy runner-up Michael Bishop was widely regarded as Allen's successor.

However, after lighting up the Arena Football League this winter, Bishop is musing about not turning up at Toronto's training camp at the conclusion of the indoor season.

Toronto head coach Michael Clemons would welcome Ray with open arms but is prepared to go to war with the veteran Allen behind centre again this season.

"Ricky Ray certainly makes your football team better," offered Clemons during the conference call. "With that, I don't get involved in that side of things."

LATE HITS: Rookie running back Tim Blackwell was added to the Edmonton Eskimos training camp mix yesterday. Blackwell, 22, appeared in 14 games over two season at Southern Mississippi.

The six-foot, 200-pound back rushed the ball 157 times for 591 yards and six touchdowns during his college career. Blackwell also has 22 receptions for 206 yards at Southern Miss.


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