Argos rookie cashing in

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

It's turning out to be a good rookie season for Bryan Crawford -- in more ways than one.

The Queen's grad cracked the Argos roster and it has helped him to make some headway in paying back his university student loans, which he said amounted to $35,000.

The fifth-round draft pick this year went from being a practice-roster player and earning $500 a week to collecting almost five times that amount -- based on the CFL's minimum salary of $38,000 a year -- when activated to the game-day roster beginning in the 10th game.

Moreover, he already has collected a first-round bonus cheque of $2,800 given to each member of the Argos for finishing first in the division and earning the bye to the final. And he'll collect an additional $3,000 bonus today given out by the league to the teams playing in the division final. If the Argos make it to the Grey Cup, there's a chance to make additional bonus money. Each player on the winning team receives $12,000, while the losing players receive $6,000 apiece.

"Playing in the playoffs and potentially going to the championship game is huge for the football sake, but in all honesty it's a profession, too, and there's a lot of money on the line," said the running back, who will be active on special teams.

"For a guy like myself and there's a few other guys on the team that are just out of college, it can provide a huge, huge head start or legup. Guys like myself who went to school in Canada accumulated quite a lot of debt in loans so we can go to college. We weren't fortunate enough to have a free ride the whole way."

Beyond the financial benefits, the Hamilton product is just enjoying all that has happened to him this year.

"It has been a whirlwind of a year, never mind just this season, and it has been pretty special -- for anybody, especially for a first-year Canadian kid from the area," he said. "I've been a CFL fan my whole life."


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