Bruce in a 'sorry' state

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

The ship appears to have sailed on suspended Argonauts slotback Arland Bruce.

There were indications last night that the Argos were closing in on a trade with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats that would land a draft pick for Bruce. If a swap falls through, expect Bruce to be released.

"If I'm not an Argo, I don't know what to say," Bruce said when reached by telephone and asked about the Hamilton rumours. "I can't see myself playing anywhere else."

Told that Argos head coach Bart Andrus said earlier in the day that he didn't think it was "ever too late to apologize or get second chances," Bruce responded: "I'm always willing to apologize, if I can talk to (Andrus) face to face." But Andrus had no interest in talking to Bruce, who was suspended last week for conduct that Andrus deemed unprofessional.

Bruce was ordered to stay away from practice by the team yesterday and his locker at the team's training facility in Mississauga was cleaned out.

Andrus confirmed that had Bruce kept his mouth shut instead of venting publicly about being suspended -- during which Bruce called out Andrus and appeared to take a shot at quarterback Kerry Joseph (which Bruce has since denied) -- it was probable that Bruce would have been practising yesterday, getting ready for a rematch this Saturday at the Rogers Centre against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and ex-Argo Michael Bishop.

"I would say there is a good possibility of that because that's the way (staying quiet) a professional responds when they are reprimanded," Andrus said.

Andrus was asked whether it was harder to sit Bruce since the 31-year-old is his most talented receiver.

"I am not so sure he makes our offensive team better," Andrus said, perhaps forgetting that Bruce led the Argos in receiving yards each of the past three seasons and was doing so again this year when he was suspended.

Bruce didn't like hearing that.

"If that's the way he feels, then we need to move forward," Bruce said. "You tell me that, and I say I'm coachable. My receivers coach (Mike Jones) never said that to me."

More than a few Argos, including Joseph, linebacker Willie Pile and running back Bryan Crawford, said the Bruce controversy has not been a distraction.

"It's a big deal, but the guys are not talking about it," Crawford said. "(Bruce) has been a productive player and you want to have a guy like that around. (But) it shows everyone is treated the same way. Being team-first is more important in football than in any other sport."

The Argos signed receiver Chad Lucas and likely will activate receiver Cory Rodgers from the practice roster. Receiver Tyler Scott (concussion) should play, but another receiver, veteran Andre Talbot, will be out several more weeks with a sprained right ankle.

TERRY.KOSHAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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