NFLers pump up CFL

Hall of Fame QBs Jim Kelly (left) and Dan Marino were at the Rogers Centre Wednesday to stump for...

Hall of Fame QBs Jim Kelly (left) and Dan Marino were at the Rogers Centre Wednesday to stump for the NFL game on Sunday. (Sun Media/Dave Abel)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:31 AM ET

For those three-down football detesters who insist CFL stands for "Crappy Football League," commissioner Mark Cohon probably had a nice chuckle at your expense yesterday.

Without warbling a single word, Cohon's quaint eight-team outfit got an unexpected shot in the arm courtesy of Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams and Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.

Speaking on a conference call from the Miami area, Williams said he would welcome a return to the CFL one day; admitted to dining with Toronto Argonauts owner David Cynamon in South Florida recently; and even revealed that he dreamed about former Argos president Keith Pelley on Tuesday night.

No, not that kind of dream.

More on that later.

KELLY LIKES LEAGUE

Kelly, meanwhile, spent lunch at the Rogers Centre with fellow Hall of Famer Dan Marino pimping Sunday's game between the Dolphins and Buffalo Bills, the first regular-season NFL contest to be played on Canadian soil.

Asked if he supported a permanent NFL franchise in Toronto, Kelly said: "Yes."

But not if that team is the Buffalo Bills. And not if that team meant the extinction of the Toronto Argonauts and/or the CFL, a league "I (Kelly) like and have watched."

The last thing the CFL expected this week was to get some lovin' like this. Not with the highly anticipated, highly priced arrival of the glitzy NFL in town.

But, with kickoff still 72 hours away, some of the air already has been sucked out of the NFL's hype balloon on a number of fronts.

The Bills bring no momentum into the game, coming off a stinky 10-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

The game will be a sellout, but not as quickly as organizers would have liked.

And given the foolishness of Sean Avery and the firing of Sam Mitchell, some of the buzz concerning the event has been muzzled in the media.

Even the return of Rasta Ricky has taken a back seat.

And for the introverted Williams, that's just the way he likes it.

Williams recounted yesterday how much he loved the anonymity of living and playing in Canada in 2006 as a member of the Argos. He fondly remembered walking to his favourite tofu restaurant on Bloor St., then added how fun it was to play for Michael (Pinball) Clemons.

So much so, he would not rule out a return to the CFL.

"If I had the opportunity and it worked for my family, I'd definitely jump at (it)," said Williams, admitting he and Cynamon joked about it over supper recently. "Playing, coaching, whatever.

"Each town up there, when they would go to the games, they were true fans. Sometimes in Miami the fans only show up when you are winning. But when you go to places like Hamilton, Regina and Calgary, they are huge football fans.

"It was refreshing."

Williams, who rushed for 526 yards in 11 games with the Argos, hopes he gets a nice reception Sunday.

"I assume (the fans) will be happy because we do have a connection," he said. "The Argos were the only CFL team I played for so there is no real reason to boo."

Added Williams: "The first reaction (of some people) is that it is an inferior league. Not true. Players are smaller and quicker. It's a different game.

"In America, at times you are frowned upon if you try to be an individual. In Canada, you are allowed to be that. I don't always fit in (everywhere) so I liked that."

Fair enough. Now about that dream featuring Keith Pelley ...

"Somehow, he was working in New Orleans and he was complaining about the heat," Williams said. "That's all there was (to the dream)."

As for Kelly, he reiterated he has interested parties who will help him keep the Bills in Buffalo.

And no, for the record, he did not have any dreams about Keith Pelley.


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