Bruce aims to be almighty

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

It has been an off-season of firsts for Arland Bruce III, a receiver/returner who is second to none in the CFL.

He hired a chef to promote a healthier diet, dabbled in boxing to enhance his endurance and has spent each day at training camp with his dad, Arland Bruce Jr.

At a time when Arland Bruce III is poised to join the ranks of football's elite, the joy of being with his dad brings a smile to his face and a soothing influence.

"This is the first time my dad has had a chance to see me go about my football business and I'm glad he's here," the multi-talented Argo said yesterday as the team continued preparing for its CFL season opener against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats tomorrow at the Rogers Centre. "It's been such a good thing. Him being here makes me appreciate things so much more.

"My dad gets tears in his eyes when he sees his son doing something he truly loves doing."

For reasons that are both personal and professional, this weekend looms large for Arland Bruce III.

He'll get to share Father's Day with his dad and Arland Bruce III also will take the first step in a season that promises to be very eventful.

"I just feel in tip-top shape," Bruce III, 28, said. "There's nowhere to go but up with my career. My mentality is that I want to be mentioned as an MVP-type player.

So skilled, so versatile and so explosive, a strong case can be made that Bruce III enters the 2006 season as the Argos' most talented player.

Ricky Williams has generated all the headlines but the one-time NFL rushing star is a long way from being in football shape. Damon Allen is the CFL's reigning most outstanding player but in the team's most recent meaningful game, last year's East final, the ageless quarterback could generate only three points in the final three quarters of play.

Bruce III enters his fifth CFL season and third as an Argo in the best shape of his life, mentally and physically.

"I haven't had my best season," Bruce III said. "I'm getting better and I'm learning something every day. My goal is to be a living legend in a sense. The mentality I carry with me every day is that I want to be great."

Soward to be suspended

The Argos are expecting SB R. Jay Soward to be suspended for tomorrow's opener. You may recall Soward's post-touchdown celebration when he grabbed a box of popcorn during last year's East final. He also made contact with an official following an interception, an offence that carries a one-game suspension.


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