Argonauts hope Bishop's return rights the ship

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:22 PM ET

Pinball bounced around the question yesterday.

At least for a minute or two.

But then Argonauts head coach, Michael (Pinball) Clemons, all but confirmed that the club's No. 1 quarterback, Michael Bishop, will start for the annual Labour Day Classic at Ivor Wynne Stadium tomorrow afternoon.

"He has done extremely well and we're really excited that he's back," Clemons said. "Michael Bishop is going to play in the football game and everybody can draw their conclusions (as to whether he starts)."

You don't have to be Picasso to draw the conclusion that Bishop will be the man.

LOSING TREND

Bishop suffered a broken wrist after staking Toronto to a 48-15 win against the Calgary Stampeders on July 12 and, since that game, the Argonauts have lost five in a row. A loss against the struggling Hamilton Tiger-Cats tomorrow would drop the Boatmen into last place in the CFL's East Division standings, which is not the ideal place for a team playing host to this year's Grey Cup.

Backup QB Rocky Butler has started the past two games for 2-5 Toronto and, while he hasn't played poorly, the Argos sorely miss Bishop.

Bishop said following yesterday's practice that nobody has told him that he will be starting against the 1-6 Ticats tomorrow. But he is anxious to play.

"I'm definitely ready," he said. "I think I was ready last week against Winnipeg (a 15-13 loss). But now I feel I'm ready to get back out there and keep it moving."

Bishop said his timing and his legs are both back and he acknowledged that tomorrow's matchup against the Ticats is not just another game, though he is not worried about any undue pressure.

"I don't think there's going to be any pressure," he said. "We need a win, but the pressure's on Hamilton, too -- they need to get a win.

"The pressure is something you face during the week, trying to get the right reads down and all that," Bishop added. "On game day, you just go out there and react."

A major topic of discussion following yesterday's practice was whether the Argonauts are considering going after quarterback Casey Printers, who was a final cut yesterday by the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs. Printers, a former B.C. Lion, was the CFL's most outstanding player in 2004.

But Argonauts general manager Adam Rita did not express optimism that Printers would be heading Toronto's way anytime soon.

"We have our starting quarterback," Rita said. "Michael Bishop's our guy and I'm sure that Casey Printers is going to try to stay in the NFL. Until he decides to come to our league, it's a moot point as to whether we want him or not."

The Argonauts, meanwhile, released veteran Canadian wide receiver Michael Palmer yesterday.


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