Layoff putting Allen's future in doubt

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:06 AM ET

Such is his competitive nature that Damon Allen will only go into retirement kicking and screaming.

It is possible, however, that the record-setting career of the 44-year-old quarterback has come to an end.

The Argos placed Allen on the nine-week injured list yesterday, casting some doubt on his future in the CFL.

Allen, who injured his right big toe in last week's 29-27 loss to the Montreal Alouettes, was told by doctors it would take at least six weeks to heal properly.

But with salary cap concerns and the expected return of Michael Bishop and Eric Crouch by then, the Argos felt there was no alternative but to sideline Allen.

"Certainly (the team is) reluctant to do it," Argos coach Mike Clemons said yesterday prior to the decision becoming official.

"The challenge is trying to work within the salary management system and trying to do what is most productive."

By placing Allen on the nine-week list, his salary does not factor in the $4.05-million league cap imposed this season.

Bishop, who has been out the past three games with an injured wrist, is expected to return for the Labour Day classic against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Crouch, who was injured in training camp, is due to return to the active roster in Week 10. The Argos also have Mike McMahon and Rocky Butler under contract and Robert Kent on the practice roster.

As it is, the Argos are down to their fourth starter of the season for tonight's game against Saskatchewan when former Roughrider backup Butler gets the call.

Butler came on in relief of Allen last week, completing eight of 20 attempts for one touchdown and four interceptions.

"We just need (Butler) to play solid," Clemons said. "We don't need him to win the football game. We have to do things around our quarterback to help him out and give him the best chance to be successful."

With 492 yards this season Allen now has 72,381 for his career, adding to the record he claimed this past season as pro football's most productive passer. The Argos won't have to make a decision on his future until the final three games of the season.


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