Austin happy to return

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:02 AM ET

It isn't every day a person with head-coaching aspirations removes himself from a possible opportunity -- even more so when he's the favourite for the job.

Then again, Kent Austin has always been known for his meticulous thought process.

Austin had been a contender -- the frontrunner, according to various sources -- for the vacant head-coaching job in Winnipeg, but elected to remove himself from the running earlier this week because of professional and family reasons. He is happy in Toronto and the direction the Argos are going, and didn't want to uproot his family for the third time in four years.

Austin, who retired from playing after the 1996 season and began his coaching apprenticeship with Ottawa in 2003 with the Ottawa Renegades, has desires to be a future head coach, if the opportunity presents itself again.

"If the opportunity presents itself again, I'll certainly take a look at it again if it makes sense, but right now I've got a lot on my plate trying to become the best co-ordinator I can become and I've still got a lot of growing left," he said yesterday after his previous contract was renewed through to the end of the 2007 season.

This could be an interesting season for the Argos and Austin in particular.

In his two seasons in Toronto, he has won a Grey Cup one year and directed quarterback Damon Allen to a season last year in which he threw for more than 5,000 yards for the first time in his 21-year Canadian Football League career and collected his first Most Outstanding Player Award.

Allen, who needs slightly more than 1,200 yards to set a professional football record for career passing yards, is glad Austin returned.

"When he first arrived here he set a foundation for our offence and each year we have continued to improve," Allen said.

Also yesterday, receiver Tony Miles had his contract extended through the 2007 season.

PRINTERS ANGRY

B.C. Lions quarterback Casey Printers lashed out at the team -- and specifically head coach Wally Buono -- in separate tirades this week over a lack of communication between him and the Lions' coaching staff.

In a story published yesterday in the Vancouver Province, Printers blasted Buono and the Lions for failing to diagnose Printers' lingering shoulder injury this past season.

"I will not forget how I was treated this past year as far as people kicking me while I was down," Printers told the Province. "I won't forget how I was toyed with. "That will always stick with me."

PHILION SIGNS

Ed Philion, one of the league's best and nastiest defensive tackles, signed a contract to stay with the Montreal Alouettes for two years, with an option for a third year.

The Essex, Ont., native is one of the rare Canadians as good or better at his position than American players and was perhaps the most important to keep in the fold.


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