Argos done with Bruce?

Arland Bruce was suspended by Argo coach Bart Andrus for tonight's critical game against the...

Arland Bruce was suspended by Argo coach Bart Andrus for tonight's critical game against the Bombers. (Sun Media/Dave Thomas)

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:00 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- If Arland Bruce has a future in the Canadian Football League, it's virtually certain it will not be with the Argonauts.

A day after Bruce took a feud with Argos head coach Bart Andrus public, the club apparently let it be known that the enigmatic but talented receiver is available.

The question is whether the Argos will be able to trade Bruce or wind up releasing him, which would mean they would get nothing for the guy who has led them in receiving in each of the past three seasons and has a team-high 199 yards this season.

"We'll make our decision when the time comes," Argos general manager Adam Rita said. "Arland has been a productive Argo and we don't want what has happened to diminish that."

Has Bruce played his last game for Toronto?

"I have no clue," Rita said.

Bruce was suspended by Andrus for tonight's critical game against East Division rival Winnipeg Blue Bombers after a number of transgressions that included leaving his playbook on a plane in Calgary last week and missing some special teams meetings. A me-first tribute to the late Michael Jackson in the season opener got under Andrus' skin, and Bruce's history of running wrong routes have been documented.

On four occasions, Bruce reportedly has been fined by the team.

Though a source suggested the team might have made a decision to part ways with Bruce before the 31-year-old made disparaging remarks about Andrus and quarterback Kerry Joseph, Bruce's decision to vent was another nail in the coffin.

"I didn't say I was going to welcome him back into the fold," Andrus said. "I said I would deal with it when the time is appropriate and now it is the furthest thing from my mind. The immediate thing I am looking at is how we can win a football game (tonight). We won't be distracted by a single person."

Andrus, who should be commended for sticking to his reasoning that no player is bigger than the team, answered "I can't tell you that right now" when asked if Bruce would play for him again.

It's not uncommon for other CFL teams to wait out a player's fiasco with a club and then snap him up when he is set free. There's no consensus as to what might happen with Bruce, who refers to himself as "Mr. Mature" on his web site.

"There's going to be a market," one CFL source said. "Other teams know what has happened but Toronto might get a draft pick. But his trade value obviously is not as high. But you might see B.C. or Saskatchewan show interest. I don't see a deal happening within the division."

Hamilton Tiger-Cats GM Bob O'Billovich, who has shown interest in Bruce previously, said last night he "doesn't comment on other team's problems."

Another observer figured the Argos won't have a choice but to release Bruce.

Bruce did not respond to an e-mail request for an interview but gave several strange answers during an appearance on The Bill Watters Show yesterday afternoon on AM 640. Bruce refused to comment specifically on his future in Toronto.

"There are eight teams in the CFL and this is where I have made my home, my second home," Bruce said. "Every team knows each other. I love the CFL. I would do anything for the CFL. It does not matter what team I play for, I would still perform and do what I do."

Though Joseph was criticized by Bruce, the quarterback said Bruce was a good teammate.

"I have not had a problem with Arland," Joseph said. "The guys have not had a problem with Arland."


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