Tony Adams - Quarterback - 1979-80 - Utah State
The Toronto Argonauts closed out a frustrating decade with a distinctive NFL flavour. A major coup was the signing of all-purpose back Terry Metcalf in 1978 away from the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1979 a new head coach with significant NFL pedigree arrived in the form of Forrest Gregg. Gregg an NFL legend as a player with Green Bay under Vince Lombardi brought instant respect albeit not much coaching experience. To lead the offence at quarterback Toronto signed Kansas City back-up Tony Adams. Adams played sparingly with Kansas City but was considered a rising talent when Toronto signed the 29 year old Texan.
Tony Adams was a stand-out at college with Utah State. He was a NCAA region MVP and All-American. Originally drafted by the San Diego in 1973 Adams did not get into any regular season action with the Chargers. Adams joined the Southern California Suns of the fledgling World Football League in 1974. Adams was the leagues leading passer in í74 throwing for 3,905 yards and 23 touchdowns. The Suns under Adams won the Western division title and he was named league MVP.
After the demise of the WFL Adams signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. Adams was considered a thinking manís quarterback with some mobility and a strong arm. In 1979, Toronto elected to sign Adams as a free agent over proven CFL quarterback and free agent Tom Clements. Adams performed well his first
season with Toronto being name Eastern Conference Rookie of the Year. Tony
completed 61.2% of his passes for 2,692 yards 13 touchdowns to go with 18
interceptions. Toronto finished the year a disappointing 5-11.
In 1980 Adams returned with confidence but injuries and improved play from competing quarterback Mark Jackson meant that Adams playing time suffered. Adams only completed 39 of 72 passes for 539 yards in 1980. The most telling statistic was no touchdown passes and 6 interceptions. The team did not do much better finishing 6-10 missing the play-offs this time under coach Willie Wood.
1980 would be Adams final year with Toronto. Tony did not play again until surprisingly in 1987 he signed on to play with the Minnesota Vikings at the age of 37 as a replacement player while the NFL Players Association was on strike. Adams performed well considering the prolonged absence over 4 games and retired at the end of the season.
Tony Adams was another in a long line of high-profile U.S. quarterbacks who did not work out in the CFL. Toronto moved on from the decision but was left to wonder what might have been had they went with Tom Clements instead in 1979.
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