Argonauts sign Durie

Former York running back Andre Durie signed with the Argos yesterday after going undrafted. (Sun...

Former York running back Andre Durie signed with the Argos yesterday after going undrafted. (Sun File/Mark O'Neill)

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

Mike (Pinball) Clemons has yet to hear the story first-hand, but his newest recruit is also one of his biggest fans.

When the Argos signed York University free agent running back Andre Durie yesterday, they took a chance on a one-time can't-miss talent.

As a bonus, they got a Pinball disciple.

"I was playing in a (minor football) game and we had a chance to meet the Argos before the game," Durie, who was eight at the time, said yesterday. "Pinball was the first guy I met and he signed my hat.

"I've been a huge Pinball fan ever since. It's kind of a dream to be playing for him and the team I loved."

Football has been more of a nightmare the past two years for Durie, who heading into the 2005 campaign was being billed as a surefire CFL star.

But after a season in which he had rushed for 1,367 yards, Durie blew out his knee in his second game of the the season against Queen's.

Blown up with the three ligaments, muscles and nerves was his CIS career and talk of the pros, including some early whispers of NFL potential.

After reconstructive surgery on that shredded left knee and months of agonizing rehab, Durie is getting a real chance with his hometown team.

UNDRAFTED

The 25-year-old Oakville resident went unselected at the CFL draft this past week, but the Argos saw enough that they liked in a personal workout to give the kid a shot.

"If it were not for that injury, there is no doubt in my mind that he would have been a top-three pick in the draft last week," Argos assistant GM and director of player personnel Greg Mohns said yesterday.

"He has worked extremely diligently in trying to get back to the level that he was at physically prior to his injury."

Durie, who believes his knee is at 95%, is confident he will get the rest of the way there by the time camp opens in early June.

"The last five per cent is the mental aspect, the rust of two years not playing," Durie said. "I don't want to get my expectations too high. I will go to camp and control what I can control and do what I best."

Meanwhile, apparently it was York U. day for the Argos, who also signed defensive tackle Sean Simms. The Etobicoke native was a fifth-round pick in last week's draft.


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