Bishop ready for dogfight

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:42 AM ET

He has had more than a month to digest the idea that he is a pawn and not the king in the Argos' quarterbacking picture.

But Michael Bishop remains somewhat bitter about the situation.

"I have the confidence, but I don't know if the confidence within the organization is with me," Bishop said yesterday. "The way things unfolded was kind of shocking to me, because I had no idea what was going on.

"But at the same time, I am a competitor. Bring it on. Every year I have been in Toronto, I have had to come in and compete. I always maintain that I am the last man standing. I'm going to have fun with it."

Bishop was enjoying the winter until the first week of March, when the Argos acquired quarterback Kerry Joseph, named the CFL's most outstanding player, from the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Though Argos coach Rich Stubler has endorsed the idea of using both Bishop and Joseph, the starting job is Joseph's to lose. Bishop was excellent for the Argos in the regular season in 2007, but did not come up big in the East final against Winnipeg when the Argos lost 19-9. Despite wondering about what the brass might think of him, Bishop last month signed a contract extension through 2010.

Never mind what Bishop had to say. Damon Allen made it clear yesterday that all 44 years of him intends to show up at the opening of camp on June 1 and work for a job. Bishop, Allen and Joseph were at the Rogers Centre to announce details of Allen's third annual quarterback challenge, an event that brings the big-name QBs in the CFL together for a day to compete in a series of events against each other. The majority of proceeds from the challenge, scheduled for May 24 at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton, will go to children's charities.

Barring injuries, Allen would be reduced to clipboard-holder, but that possibility did not deter him.

"This is like Rocky," Allen said, referring to Sylvester Stallone's never-say-die fictional movie character. "No one expects me to challenge or to make an impact or a difference. I am training like Rocky right now, hitting meat bags and everything."

Perhaps Allen should be reminded that Rocky Balboa often was smacked around the ring. Why, after all Allen has accomplished on the football field, does he want to continue his legendary career?

"Football has always been in my blood, part my DNA," Allen said. "I love the game. You really get back to being a young child in the game of football. It makes it easy to want to continue and still play the game. I still feel like I can give something back."

Joseph does not expect the quarterback situation to hang like a dark cloud over camp.

"We have respect for each other," Joseph said. "We all understand that we have been in this business for a long time and we understand the professionalism of this business."


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