Argos use Mace to dispel Bruce

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

Given that his hands were tied in a figurative sense, one has to hand it to Argonauts general manager Adam Rita for turning the headache that was Arland Bruce into something.

On the surface, the trade yesterday that sent the disgruntled Bruce to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats brought nothing tangible, at least in the immediate future, to the Argos.

For the record, the Argos received the rights to defensive lineman Corey Mace, whom many consider to be a fine prospect, but whose head and heart remain on cracking the bright lights of the NFL.

The Ticats, who acquired Mace's rights when they traded current Argos linebacker Zeke Moreno to Winnipeg, threw in third-round picks in next year's CFL draft and in 2011.

"People are going to talk about this trade, but we did the best we could,'' Rita explained. "After the fact, people might say otherwise, but they weren't in my shoes."

There was no way Bruce, who was undeniably the Argos' most accomplished playmaker, would ever play under first-year head coach Bart Andrus.

Rita could have released the explosive receiver outright and received absolutely nothing back or seek a trade.

Hamilton, which hasn't made the post-season since 2004, is believed to be the only team in the CFL with cap space to assume Bruce's hefty salary, believed to be in the neighbourhood of $190,000.

Bruce's talents are obvious, but his attitude is dubious and his time in Toronto was over the moment he went public last week in blasting Andrus for suspending the veteran for the Argos' away game against the Blue Bombers.

Andrus is a team-first, discipline-minded head coach whose approach was the antithesis of Bruce, who was basically told by Andrus to stay away from the team.

"The status quo wasn't the way to go,'' Andrus said. "His response was very negative. It was apparent to me that it was time to go.

"I wish him well and I hope he has better luck with his new team ... It was very positive for both clubs."

Andrus wasn't trying to put his stamp on a team, which in recent years has tolerated me-first players.

When he suspended Bruce, Andrus was merely reinforcing what he told his team back in training camp.

"I'm trying to do what I'm used to doing on this level and what I've seen work in the past,'' Andrus said.

"There needs to be a certain degree of responsibility on the part of the players. There needs to be a certain amount of accountability. That's what we're all about. It was laid out to the players in the first meeting of the year. Those who can't fall into line won't be with us.

"It's not about one guy not wanting to do the right things, but it's about the rest of them wanting to do it and trying hard to do it and to be the professionals that they are."


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