NFL vet gets shot with Argos

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

Linebacker Lee Woodall is feeling like a rookie again despite the fact he's a celebrated veteran in the pros.

Woodall, who began his rookie season in 1994 with the San Francisco 49ers by winning a Super Bowl and the following season received his first of two Pro Bowl selections in his eight-year National Football League career, is hoping to prove he still can play at a high level.

The 36-year-old has been out of football for four years, but will commence his comeback today with a bunch of newcomers aiming to make an impression with the Argos in their three-day rookie training camp at Erindale Campus.

"First you've got to come back and make sure that you're in shape to play and make sure that you're ready," Woodall said yesterday.

ENDED RETIREMENT

"Coming back, it's very important for me because it was always the drive inside of me," he added. "Once you have that drive you never want to give it up. This is a chance for me to showcase what I can do and that I can still play and I still have something to give back to this team and maybe to some other teams that come along."

He laughed when asked what it's like to be a rookie again.

"Definitely it's going to feel real different," he said. "That's what I said when they told me I had to report for rookie camp. I said, 'Rookie? Okay, I've got to go back to my rookie days.' It's going to be fun. Those guys are going to get to see some things and hopefully they'll learn from me and I can take something from them. Coming in as a rookie, I guess I have to do some things that they expect me to do."

Woodall has been active in his absence from the game with a casual clothing line named Tisol -- an acronym for The Inner Strength of Life -- which soon will be available in Canada. He is completing an autobiography of the same name scheduled to be released in the fall. He also is building a fitness facility in Pennsylvania and is involved in a steakhouse.

"This is a little break for me -- get away from that and knock some heads and enjoy playing football," he said.

He laughed when asked if he'll be forced by the veterans to carry the water bottles after practice.

"That's for the young guys, those days are over," he said. "Those young guys will be carrying the water bottle for me. Maybe even my shoulder pads if I get too tired.

"I remember when I was a rookie in training camp. It took a lot of learning, it took a lot of patience. If you make a mistake, just react fast. It's not acting as if you made a mistake and showing everyone you've made a mistake."

Woodall sees this chance with the Argos as a possible springboard back to the NFL.

When you're out for a little while, they want to see (video) tape on you. They want to see what you can do," he said. "This is where I start my journey back."

BALTIMORE SIGNS FOLEY

York University grad Ricky Foley, who was picked second overall in this year's Canadian Football League draft by the B.C. Lions, has received a free-agent contract offer from the Baltimore Ravens following the team's mini camp for rookies and undrafted free agents.

The 6-foot-2, 255-pounder played outside linebacker, defensive end, fullback, tight end, wide receiver and placekicker last season.


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