Rings don't cut it at camp

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

Todd Lowber has a Super Bowl ring, won the NCAA Division III men's high jump in 2006 and was a reality TV star for a brief time.

But all the Argonauts care about is whether the 27-year-old New Jersey native can take his blinding speed and translate it into a job among the club's receiving corps.

"We will give him time, but not at the expense of keeping him versus keeping somebody who might be better all-around," Argos coach Bart Andrus said. "I don't know if there is anyone who runs faster in this league than he does. He is sub-4.2 (seconds) in the 40 (yard dash), and I have never seen that occur. That's amazing. He is still catching up with the football part of it. Picking up the offence is something he needs to improve on."

A basketball and track star at Ramapo College in Mahwah, N.J., Lowber didn't play college football but caught the eye of the Minnesota Vikings at a combine and was signed in April 2007, only to be waived four months after signing.

He was picked up by the New York Giants, and though he got no further than the practice squad, received a Super Bowl ring when the Giants beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

Released again, Lowber was with the Argos for a week last July before he was plucked by the Dallas Cowboys. At that point, his attempts to crack the roster became one of the main plots in HBO's Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Dallas Cowboys.

But he was among the final cuts and then spent a few months on the Miami Dolphins' practice roster before another release led to his second stint with Toronto.

Now, the 6-foot-3, 202-pounder with a degree in law and society is confident he has enough to demonstrate to Andrus that he is worthy of a roster spot.

"I became a novelty (with HBO crews following him in Dallas), and that's not what I wanted to happen," Lowber said.

"Making the switch to football was tedious. It's still a work in progress, and it's not seamless.

"But I have been around. I know the game. I know how nuances work. The athleticism has been there the whole time, now I just have to make it work."

The odds somewhat are stacked against Lowber.

He's competing against 15 other receivers, and though he is expected to get a look in the Argos' first pre-season game, next Wednesday at home versus the Montreal Alouettes, Andrus wants to give the returning veterans a solid chance to learn the new systems in a game situation.

And four NFL teams already have decided that Lowber, natural ability aside, could not get it done against men who have been playing since they were kids.

"When you have the tools, you decide whether you want to use them," Lowber said. "I know what I can do. It's up to me to show them."


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