NFL bad boys a CFL concern

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

The Canadian Football League has concerns about the impact of its teams signing currently-suspended National Football League players.

The Toronto Sun has learned the CFL's competition committee discussed the subject yesterday among other topics.

The Argos prospect of signing running back Ricky Williams, who has been suspended for the entire 2006 NFL season for his fourth substance abuse violation, has become a hot-button issue.

The Argos are still hoping to receive official permission from the Miami Dolphins, whom Williams is under contract to for two more years, before they can even formally discuss a contract with him. Argo president Keith Pelley said yesterday the on-going situation could take another week or two to be resolved.

Winnipeg announced yesterday the signing of running back Onterrio Smith, who has been suspended for the first four games of the 2006 NFL season for his third substance abuse violation. He is not under contract to any NFL team.

There are no rules in the CFL against signing suspended NFL players and, in fact, it has happened in the past. But the prospect of the Williams signing and the Smith signing are being viewed differently. Moreover, the dynamics have changed because of the CFL-NFL working partnership which began in 1997 and the desire to keep that going.

"I don't think (the Smith signing and potential Williams signing) will affect it, but you want to keep a good working relationship," a team source said.

The competition committee also discussed the proposed implementation this year of instant replay and all of its components. It has been forwarded to the board of governors for approval, but is expected to pass and be announced next week. Teams will likely be allowed two challenges per half, including in the final two minutes, which is different from the NFL.

HILL MAY RETURN

The Argos are trying to bring back running back Hakim Hill, who started the season as an Argo but was forced to return to the U.S. to take care of legal issues.

"We are hoping everything will be in place to allow him to come back," Argo assistant general manager Greg Mohns said.

"He's got a lot of paperwork to do," Pelley said. "I don't know if we're there yet."

BRIEFLY

The CFL announced yesterday the 2008 Grey Cup will be played in Montreal.


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