Argos QB returns

Argos backup quarterback Michael Bishop gets some practice in at training camp. After a week of...

Argos backup quarterback Michael Bishop gets some practice in at training camp. After a week of missing camp, Bishop finally reported Sunday. (Toronto Sun/Dave Abel)

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

It just took a little while, but backup quarterback Michael Bishop has returned to the Argos.

Whether he stays for just this season to fulfil the final year of his contract, and or opts for a longer stint with a new deal, isn't known. In the short term, he has answered the question: Who will back up Damon Allen this year?

Fresh from a season in the Arena League, in which he became the starter for the Grand Rapids Rampage, Bishop practised with the team yesterday, a week after Argos training camp began. He had personal and family issues in Houston and received permission from the team to take care of that.

Bishop will practise for a few more days before leaving for Las Vegas to play in a skills competition leading up to Sunday's Arena League championship. He will miss the Argos pre-season game on Saturday in Halifax against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but will play the following Friday in the rematch in Hamilton.

The Rampage, which did not make the playoffs, have a four-year, $500,000 US offer on the table which Bishop is considering. The Argos are paying him $90,000 Cdn, with added bonuses.

While he stated in the off-season he had reservations about returning as Allen's backup again, he decided to take advantage of the opportunity in Toronto and whatever evolves from it.

"You don't want to pass up any good opportunities, so I made a decision to come and work hard and see what happens," he said.

That said, he still is considering the Rampage offer.

"It's a good opportunity for me," he said. "I haven't made up my mind yet, but it's good to always have options."

"If he can step up and be the No. 1 guy, we'll try to convince him this is the only place he should play and we'll try financial inducements," head coach Pinball Clemons said.

Clemons spoke to Bishop in advance of training camp and was confident he would report, but wanted to be fair to him out of respect for the good job he did last year as the starter when Allen suffered a fractured leg in the eighth game of the season.

"I was giving him a chance to sort out (his feelings) and to cement what he really wanted to do because we want the whole Michael Bishop," Clemons said.

Offensive co-ordinator Kent Austin said despite Bishop's late arrival, he has earned the right to be Allen's backup.

"He played a full Arena League season and we allowed him to do that, so there's nothing wrong with getting a little bit of rest after getting beat up all year long," he said. "I've got no issues with that, so D.A. is our No. 1 and Bish is in the same boat (as backup). Those are our two guys coming back. I wasn't sure he was coming back, but Bish has got a strong sense of loyalty and I think ultimately that's what brought him back in."


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