Argos overlook criminal history

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

Derek Medler, whose university career ended when he was charged with accessory after the fact to attempted murder, may get a chance to play professionally.

A prominent running back two years ago with the Laurier Golden Hawks before his run-in with the law, is being evaluated by the Argonauts.

"He's just looking for a second chance and we're likely going to give it to him," Argos director of Canadian scouting Nick Volpe said yesterday. All that remains is for a contract to be finalized.

Even if the Argos sign Medler, the team is stacked at running back, so his chances of making the final 40-player roster are slim. The Argos begin training camp May 29.

18-MONTH SENTENCE

"We want to give him an opportunity and after that it's up to him," said Adam Rita, the Argos' vice-president of football operations.

Medler, who received an 18-month sentence that he is serving at home, is cautiously optimistic.

"If I get a chance, it would mean everything to me," Medler told The Toronto Sun's Mike Koreen yesterday.

Medler placed was the second-leading CIS rusher behind McMaster University star Jesse Lumsden two years ago, but Medler's life took a dramatic turn on Dec. 5, 2003, when he was arrested for and eventually convicted of being an accessory after the fact to an attempted murder. His problems began when he became involved with a gang that was selling drugs, but he insists all that is behind him now.

"Everybody we've talked to can't believe that he got into trouble," Rita said. "I'm not saying he didn't do anything wrong, but he probably used poor judgment."

Medler received an invitation earlier this year to attend the Canadian Football League's evaluation camp, but a leg injury prevented him from participating. He then sent a letter to all nine teams acknowledging his mistake and stated he had changed his life.

"We saw him on tape and we liked what we saw," Rita said. "He's a good player."


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