Cynamon sweet on Ricky

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

The Argos ownership is so taken aback by the character of Ricky Williams, it has given him the ultimate compliment by comparing him to head coach Pinball Clemons.

In an exclusive interview with the Toronto Sun yesterday at the team's Fan Day, Argos co-owner David Cynamon acknowledged he and his partner, Howard Sokolowski, have met with Williams and consider the player a quality person.

"To be honest, I don't even think about the on-field (value) any more with this guy. I think about the off field," Cynamon said. "This is like having another Michael (Pinball) Clemons, but obviously most likely he can do (special) things on the field. But I'm super excited about what the community is going to get out of this. The people don't realize the kind of value we may have brought to our community. If we have the ability to do it, we would be lucky."

What has to transpire for the star running back to sign with the Argos is approval from the Miami Dolphins.

Williams has two years to go on his Miami deal, but is suspended from playing for the National Football League for his fourth substance abuse violation.

The Dolphins won't give their blessing unless they have 100% legal certainty Williams will be coming back to them next year and won't be tied up by the option-year clause that is standard with all Canadian Football League contracts, regardless of the length.

The Argos own Williams' rights and the CFL does not ban suspended NFL players.

"It's pending Miami's legal people satisfying themselves with all the language and it's a holiday weekend in the U.S.," Cynamon said. "It really is what it is. It's truly in their lawyers' hands. After meeting Ricky and talking to him as often as I have, it's something that you just can't shut down."

Williams' first three substance violations were triggered by marijuana use -- the NFL doesn't reveal the substance in question, but Williams openly admitted to smoking pot -- but the cause of the fourth violation is a mystery. There have been rumours it was triggered by an herbal substance.

Williams has embraced yoga and a spirituality in the past two years that strictly prevents the use of drugs. Regardless, the Argo owners have been won over by Williams' honesty. They believe others across Canada will be too if he is allowed to play in the CFL.

"I think he's an individual that will add a tremendous amount of value to our team, to our community, to our country," Cynamon said. "I think this guy is misinterpreted based on his history. He's a super intelligent, unbelievably sincere human being that can offer a lot of wisdom. He's one of those good guys. We'd be honoured to have a guy like that. He's that special and we don't look at the drug (history) as a good thing or a bad thing because he's not on drugs, so it's irrelevant. What he did in his past is irrelevant if he's a good person because we look forward. We don't look on the surface. We look within and the guy is as deep and special as you're ever going to meet in an athlete."

Williams checked out Toronto of his own volition and met the Argo owners, who wanted to see firsthand if he had the kind of character to fit the team's culture.

"That was the most important feature, nothing else mattered," Cynamon said. "Money, contract, all that other stuff was secondary next to what was this guy going to be like.

"We have a very good thing going here -- good momentum -- and we wouldn't do anything to hurt our chemistry or our team or our fan base or reputation in the community; only to enhance it. It wasn't until we met him that we'd know if we enhanced it and this guy not only would enhance it, he would accelerate it. Absolutely accelerate it.

"He has a lot of wisdom to teach youth, not only in this community but through the whole country. With his profile, I think people would listen to him."

Given that referral, maybe somebody should hire Williams as a speaker even if he's not allowed to play here.


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