Argos walk a very fine line

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 12:29 PM ET

It is a delicate dance the Argos must shuffle now with Ricky Ray.

They want the free agent quarterback, but can't be entirely overt about it. They see him as their long-term answer, knowing they have Damon Allen for the present, however long the present may be.

There is a certain dignity expected when dealing with the ancient Allen, who always seems one game away from his career being over, and that is the fine line the Argos need to walk here. It was the kind of dignity lacking with the B.C. Lions, who made a similar pitch to Dave Dickenson two years ago and left Allen dangling in the process.

Even a few weeks ago, when the Hamilton Tiger-Cats made a pitch for Doug Flutie, they did so at the expense of their relationship with quarterback Danny McManus.

The Argos don't want to play that game. They think too highly of Allen to dangle him in any way. Instead, they will proceed with caution, hoping to sign Ray, who has been waived out of the NFL, hoping to maintain their relationship with Allen all at the same time.

THIS AND THAT

Some people laughed when the unlikely trio of Mario Lemieux, Tie Domi and Larry Tanenbaum tried to put a deal together to end the NHL lockout in December. Well, it doesn't seem quite so funny now that NHLPA Bob Goodenow has taken that very formula and is now trying to sell it to the league ...Wouldn't be it great if someone in U.S. Congress addressed Gary Bettman this way on his visit Wednesday: "Mr. Bettman, why are you here talking to us about your drug policies when a) you don't have one and b) you don't play any games? ... Martin Brodeur will leave Austria knowing this much: He never before has played behind such a weak defensive team ... Tiger Woods misses the cut on the same day Alex Rios hits a home run. A bet like that would pay better than Giacomo at the Kentucky Derby ... Orlando Hudson is worth the price of admission no matter where you sit for Blue Jays games ... Liked Mike Bianchi's take in the Orlando Sentinel on the apparent Steve Nash MVP controversy: "Isn't there enough racism in the world without creating it where none exists?"

HEAR AND THERE

So Wayne Gretzky wants to coach. So did Ted Williams, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Rocket Richard. Rarely works for the great players. They know how to do it, not how to teach it ... If you're casting for the John Gibbons story, the lead has to be played by Lee Majors ... Don't be surprised if the CFL and commissioner Tom Wright end up parting ways at the end of this season. A one-year contract extension is hardly a ringing endorsement for the commish ... I admit it. I'm going through Stanley Cup playoff withdrawal. It's May and there's nobody to blame for the state of the Leafs ... Worth repeating from Yogi Berra, three days after his 80th birthday: "Always go to other people's funerals. Otherwise, they won't go to yours." ... I give up, who in heck is Jon Garland and how did he win all those games?

SCENE AND HEARD

Question for LeBron James, who fired his agent and replaced them some buddies: Did you check first with Mike Tyson? Tyson once hired a pal to train him and another to manage him. Didn't work so well for him ... Curt Schilling has one win and David Wells has just two and still the Red Sox are playing .600 baseball ... This drug testing business is getting way too complicated. Time was, all an athlete needed was a masking agent. Now, they're carrying around false penises in Minneapolis ... A Sports Illustrated survey of 227 NBA players voted Vince Carter the most overrated player in the league ... If Rick Nash gets suspended for the world tournament, which he should have been, there's no way Canada is playing for gold today ... And how about Hockey Canada's see-no-evil approach when it came to Nash's hooking of one official and clawing of another? They would have been screaming bloody murder if the same thing had happened with another star player from another country.

AND ANOTHER THING

Enough of referring to Ted Lilly as an all-star. He was never an all-star calibre pitcher. What he happened to be was the lone Blue Jays representative in the all-star game for a team that had no one else to send. What he should be now is out of the Jays starting rotation ... There are a lot of players in baseball who can provide more for less money than the powerless and defensively average Frank Catalanotto ... The New Jersey Devils have to be worried about their eventual return to the NHL now that Patrik Elias is ill with hepatitis-A and Scott Gomez fractured his pelvis this winter ... What did Bob Schaefer ever do to anybody to deserve to manage the mess that is the Kansas City Royals? ... With all these championships and big crowds, how come the Rock haven't paid any dividends to their investors? ... And hey, whatever became of Kirk Johnson?


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