Toronto Argonauts

 Arland Bruce III - Wide Receiver - 2004-09 - Minnesota

 

CFL suitors line up to take Bruce - Toronto Star - 28-07-2009

Arland Bruce spent 6 seasons in Toronto as the clubs go-to receiver. Joining the team for the stretch run in the 2004 season after a year with the San Francisco 49ers he quickly made an impact with a punt return touchdown in the Eastern final versus Montreal. He would go on to be a perennial all-star before a run-in with coach Bart Andrus resulted in him being traded from Toronto to bitter rival Hamilton in 2009.

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The Arland Bruce III saga in Toronto seems to be coming to a quick end.

Two CFL sources requesting anonymity said Tuesday night the Argos were in serious talks to trade Bruce to arch-rival Hamilton, though one of the sources said two other potential suitors were also in the running.

While the source wouldn't divulge the identities of the other interested teams, Calgary and Winnipeg are reportedly interested in the talented but controversial receiver.

The sources said a deal could be completed as early as Wednesday.

The Argos returned to the practice field Tuesday without Bruce, who was barred from the team last week by head coach Bart Andrus.

The five-foot-11, 194-pound Bruce didn't attend team meetings Tuesday morning and wasn't on the field when practice began afterwards. Bruce was reportedly poised to rejoin his teammates before being told by club officials earlier in the morning to stay away.

The Bruce saga certainly has garnered a lot of attention. Maybe three or four reporters attend a typical Argos practice, but Tuesday's session attracted roughly triple that amount.

Andrus didn't bring Bruce to Winnipeg for last Friday's 19-5 victory against the Blue Bombers, saying he was disciplining the six-year Argo for breaking team rules. Instead of quietly accepting the move, Bruce, in his eighth CFL season, made matters worse by publicly criticizing Andrus and quarterback Kerry Joseph.

Bruce, 31, has been Toronto's leading receiver the past three seasons and his absence would seem to hurt an offence that's struggled this season. The Argos are 2-2 and tied with Hamilton for second in the East Division despite averaging 256 passing yards a game third-worst in the CFL.

Without Bruce and injured veteran Andre Talbot, Toronto's most experienced and productive receiver is sophomore Reggie McNeal, a converted quarterback with 58 catches and 837 receiving yards to his credit.

Toronto managed just 144 yards passing against Winnipeg and McNeal was the team's leading receiver with four catches for 60 yards.

Despite that, Andrus doesn't believe Toronto's offence is better with Bruce in the lineup.

"I'm not so sure he makes our offensive team better," Andrus said.

McNeal, though, disagreed.

"He'll make any offence better," McNeal said of Bruce. "He can play, he's good."

Bruce wasn't suspended and remains on the Argos' roster pending the outcome of the trade talks, meaning he's still being paid his reported $190,000 salary.

Should trade talks fall through, Toronto can still release Bruce or keep him on the roster and continue paying him.

Toronto has until Friday to name its 46-man roster for Saturday's home game against Winnipeg. But the Argos will have until an hour before kickoff to announce their 42-man active roster.

Last week in Winnipeg, Toronto included Bruce on its 46-man list but he was among the team's four players scratched from the active roster.

Bruce has been fined four times by the team this season for several missteps, including failing to attend two special teams meetings, being late for an offensive meeting, playing his music too loud in the locker-room and leaving his playbook on a plane after a flight to Calgary.

Bruce has also got into trouble with the CFL.

Following a playoff game three years ago, Bruce was fined by the CFL after saying on-field officials were racist. Last season, he was penalized financially for donning a Spider-Man mask after scoring a touchdown and received another fine earlier this year for removing his helmet and shoulder pads and lying down in the end zone as a tribute to Michael Jackson.

But there's no questioning Bruce's football ability. He has surpassed the 1,200-yard receiving plateau three of the past four years and three times been named an East Division all-star. And Bruce was a member of Toronto's Grey Cup championship team in 2004.
 

-- statistics --

 

 

Arland Bruce   Minnesota
  Receiving      
Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
2001 Wpg 48 818 17.0 62 7
2002 Wpg 67 1,062 15.9 55 12
2003 Played in NFL      
2004 Tor 16 247 15.4 34 1
2005 Tor 67 1,205 18.0 89 11
2006 Tor 77 1,370 17.8 94 11
2007 Tor 61 839 13.8 49 7
2008 Tor 92 1,210 13.2 51 9
2009 Tor 14 199 14.2 38 1
Ham 74 1,043 14.1 49 9
2010 Ham 86 1,303 15.2 58 8
2011 Ham 9 104 11.6 33 0
BC 49 755 15.4 100 8
2012 BC 43 603 14.0 55 5
2013 Mtl 64 851 13.3 86 5
Total 12 767 11,609 15.1 100 94

 

 

 

 

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