With or without Williams, fans optimistic

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

With John Avery, Jeff Johnson or Ricky Williams at running back, Argos fans think the team will make a big run this year.

Speaking yesterday at the team's annual Fan Day at U of T's Erindale Campus, the team's pursuit of Williams, the Miami Dolphins suspended running back, had people talking. They also mentioned Avery, who is entering his third season with the team, and his backup Johnson, who did well last year.

Damien Crone, a 14-year-old season-ticket holder for a few years, said if Williams is signed it could distract the team a little bit at the start of the season.

"If (John) Avery is starting or Ricky Williams, the Argos will still do well," Crone said. "With all their receivers and starting quarterback Damon Allen back, they should be doing great throughout the whole season. Some people may not want (Williams) to come because of what's happened to him (with his one-year suspension in the National Football League for his fourth substance abuse violation) and the pot smoking and stuff, but he could be a good addition. If not, they'll still do well with Avery or Johnson."

Don Parsons, a season-ticket holder going back to the Argos' days at the Ex, thinks the team will win the Grey Cup.

"I think we got ripped off last year and I think we've got a good chance (to win this year)," he said.

"We've got that new young quarterback (Eric Crouch) coming in to help Allen in relief. If that works out, everything's cool. I bet you this guy's going to be a star. Let's not forget about Allen. If he ever gets hurt or injured, at least we've got someone we can count on now down the line. We've got some defence, picked up some guys from some other teams, it should be a good year. I'm not even going to think about Ricky Williams until he comes. If he (is signed) it's a bonus, but I don't want to put Mr. Avery on the sidelines.

"I think this is his chance this year to break out because he's overcome his injuries apparently."

Argo co-owner David Cynamon admired the fans' loyalty.

"People are so grateful and happy to be here," he said. "It's just sensational to see, and this core group is growing."\


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