Talbot calls Toronto environment 'negative'

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:26 PM ET

The Argonauts figure they got by without Andre Talbot last year and clearly think they will have no trouble doing so permanently.

Talbot, the Argos’ top Canadian receiver when healthy, was traded on Wednesday to the Edmonton Eskimos, a bit of a surprising move considering no home-grown player really did well as Talbot missed all but one game because of injuries.

“Talbot has some trade value and we have some guys we like,” Argos general manager Adam Rita said.

“Matt Lambros is coming off an injury, Mike Bradwell we really like, and there’s Tyler Scott. And there are some guys in the draft we will be looking at.

“Whenever you do business, (salary cap considerations) are part of the deal. Andre got hurt last year, but we got on without him.”

Well, not really. The Argos were 3-15 and a healthy Talbot, who spent nine years with the Double Blue, could have made a difference in some games the Argos lost by slim margins.

Also going west is receiver Brad Smith, while the Argos get defensive tackle Eric Taylor and a conditional pick in 2011 from the Eskimos.

Rita also released cornerback Jordan Younger, and said two big-name free agents, returner Dominique Dorsey and running back Jamal Robertson, could go on the open market when free agency hits on Tuesday.

Dorsey still wants to sign in the NFL, and can do so until midnight on Monday, while Robertson and the Argos are not too close in contract talks.

A Toronto native who said he always thought he was “born to be an Argo,” Talbot said his time with the team included some “incredibly fun years”, with an obvious highlight the 2004 Grey Cup championship.

But Talbot had some indirect advice for new owner David Braley, voicing an opinion that would get nods of agreement from every one of his now-former teammates.

The Argos’ training facility at the Erindale campus of the University of Toronto barely would be adequate for a minor football team, and the club badly needs a new one. It’s a bunch of trailers built together, which hardly makes for a professional working environment.

In Edmonton, the Esks’ training facility is tops in the league.

It’s not uncommon for separate meetings to be held simultaneously, separated only by a curtain.

“It’s a joke,” Talbot said. “It’s the biggest setback for athletes there. There was no progress in that manner, and it was a major frustration from my point of view. The trailers get run down.”

Taylor was acquired for depth, as the Argos wanted to fill the hole that was created when backup Walt Curry signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Argos defensive linemen Adriano Belli, Claude Harriott, Kevin Huntley, Jonathan Brown and Ronald Flemons all would have something to say about Taylor trying to win a job.

“They stood out to me,” Taylor said. “They’re good players, but we all play the game. Battles at any position are good for he team.”

Talbot, meanwhile, can’t wait for a new start.

“I’m pretty happy about it, actually,” Talbot said. “Sometimes change is necessary. The environment around this organization the past two years has been negative, to say the least. It’s a positive change and I am looking forward to playing with (quarterback) Ricky Ray.”


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