Training camp may be three months away, but Spergon Wynn has won the job as the Argos backup to starting quarterback Damon Allen.
Speaking at the Royal York Hotel at yesterday's coach-of-the-year luncheon, Pinball Clemons proclaimed Wynn as his second-stringer and Eric Crouch No. 3. Clemons, a finalist for the fourth consecutive year, placed third behind Calgary Stampeders' Tom Higgins and runner-up Danny Maciocia of the Edmonton Eskimos.
Crouch, the 2001 Heisman Trophy winner out of the University of Nebraska, impressed the Argos in a recent workout, after which the team signed him to a long-term deal. But the Argos feel he'll need time to adjust to the Canadian Football League and temporarily have pegged Wynn ahead of Crouch. The Argos acquired Wynn, a three-year CFL veteran, primarily as a backup, in a trade with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Wednesday.
"We are all excited to see Eric Crouch and watch him compete, but that's a position he's going to have to earn," Clemons said.
Allen, who turns 43 this year, will attempt to play every game, the goal he had last year in which he was named the most outstanding player in the league for the first time in 21 seasons. Allen welcomed the signings of the two quarterbacks and said the Argos have bolstered themselves for the future.
"I think we've solidified that position and hopefully in years to come the Argos will continue to be a great football team," he said. "When you make moves like that, you're also looking at the future and understand that this is a great football town, it needs a strong (Argos team) and obviously the quarterback in the CFL is probably the most important position in our league."
Allen and his famous older brother Marcus, a National Football League Hall of Famer, and their 72-year-old father, Harold, were guest speakers at the luncheon and spoke about mentorship. The patriarch helped coach the siblings in little league, but preached education first.
The senior Allen admitted the pride he feels for his two football-playing sons.
"Looking back I never thought this would happen," he said. "Bringing the kids up, you want to see them get a good education and go off and get a good job and become a good citizen. This is your goal and when God intervenes, all this is happening."
Speaking from the heart
Montreal Alouettes' Don Matthews, the winningest head coach in CFL history, became a little wistful when he addressed the audience, offering some moving words about the Allen family and his fellow coaches and his career.
"I'd like to stress my thanks for all the times I've been here (at the coach-of the-year luncheons)," he said.
"I don't know how many more times I'll be here, but it's been a blast."