Coming in from the cold

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

Coach Michael (Pinball) Clemons wasn't on hand to see it, nor was new Argos offensive co-ordinator Steve Buratto.

But on a scraggly field framed with dandelions, Michael Bishop yesterday landed his first jab in the fight to be the starting quarterback for the Boatmen.

Bishop joined a handful of teammates for an informal workout yesterday at York University. Prior to the session he met with coaches to discuss the new offence Buratto plans to introduce for the 2007 season.

Sounds like a guy who has left the Arena Football League behind once and for all.

"I had to make a decision," said Bishop, who quit Grand Rapids of the AFL this past week to focus on the task at hand. "Do I want to keep playing arena football then coming here in the middle of the season trying to catch up?

"Or do I want to be where I can be successful? There is so much talent on this team -- this is where I want to be."

Though Argos quarterbacks and receivers officially don't report until two weeks from today, Bishop wants to be prepared for what promises to be a fierce competition.

Buratto and Clemons have declared the starter's job open for battle among five solid contestants. Bishop is considered a front-runner as is the man he relieved in two playoff games last season, Damon Allen.

A healthy Eric Crouch, about to enter his second season as an Argo, also is in the mix while off-season acquisitions Mike McMahon and Tom Arth, each of whom have NFL experience, will get a serious look at camp.

"I want to be ready for a quick start so that when training camp starts in two weeks, I'll be ready to be the guy," Bishop said. "It's going to be a good camp with five guys fighting."

For the past several months, a group of Argos players have been working out regularly at York under the guidance of speed and conditioning coach Desai Williams.

When Bishop arrived yesterday he was greeted by Crouch, receivers Arland Bruce III and Michael Palmer, running back John Avery, defensive tackle Jeff Keeping and a handful of others.

Later, Bishop joined Crouch on the York field throwing to some of the guys both men have hopes of connecting with this summer.

"I'm excited about getting the opportunity with a new (coaching) staff and a new system," Bishop said. "(The starter's) job is anybody's game right now. I feel like I've been working hard doing the things I need to do to put myself in a good situation."


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