Smith set to retire

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

Adrion Smith is giving up football, but staying in the game.

The longest-active member of the Argos will formally retire from the playing ranks -- perhaps as early as today -- to accept a community relations ambassador role with the team. Smith, 34, likely will represent the Argos at events and work alongside president Keith Pelley.

The cornerback, who began his Canadian Football League career with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1994, has been an Argo since 1996 and is one of the team's career leaders in interceptions and interception yardage.

Smith said retiring now would lessen the chance of injury, allow him to stay close to the game.

"It is an opportunity to stay with the organization and I can still be around on game day. They have an interest in me being around the team. I wouldn't do this if I wasn't comfortable with it," he told the Toronto Sun yesterday.

Smith had a long, detailed conversation with Argos coach Pinball Clemons, who is his mentor, to ease his mind.

Clemons is not sure Smith won't have an itch to play again.

"I haven't totally conceded yet," Clemons said with a smile.

WILLIAMS UPDATE

Pelley said nothing will be happening on the Ricky Williams front until the start of next week at the earliest.

"It's not in our hands," he said.

The Miami Dolphins, whom Williams is contracted to for the next two seasons, still haven't given the Argos permission to talk to the running back.

He can play in the CFL if Miami gives its approval, but the Dolphins want assurance Williams will be allowed to return to the team next season. If he signs a CFL contract, it will include an option year, but the Argos won't exercise it.

When asked whether the Argos have forwarded that documentation, Pelley said, "We talked to the Dolphins today, but that conversation is between Miami and the Argonauts."

Salary system on hold

The new $3.8 million salary management system, developed by CFL commissioner Tom Wright and Calgary Stampeders majority owner Ted Hellard, has been tabled for further discussion by the board of governors following a conference call this week. The Montreal Alouettes and B.C. Lions already had opposed the system, which is a hard salary cap scheduled to start next year, while the Edmonton Eskimos have asked for clarification. The issue needs six of eight votes to pass.

Sources said the matter isn't dead, simply on hold.


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