Toronto Argonauts

 Andre Rison - Wide Receiver - 2004-05 - Michigan State


Perry Lefko - Argos in no rush with Rison - Toronto Sun - 23-08-2004

It was Rison shine time yesterday.

Andre Rison practised for the first time with the Argos, who signed him after a workout on Friday, and he took some reps behind starting shortside wideout Robert Baker. Afterward, the 37-year-old Rison, who hasn't played in more than three seasons, talked unabashedly about his talent.

"I'm the best receiver to ever play the game," Rison said.

Rison, whose accomplishments include a Super Bowl championship, five all-Pro selections and statistics that place him in the top-15 overall in NFL career receptions, admitted he "dug" his own hole in his 12-year professional career when the NFL suspended him for the first four games of the 2001 season for substance abuse problems.

The NFL lifted the ban last year, but he failed to resurrect his career in an extended tryout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because he had been out of shape.

"Why do I deserve an opportunity (to play in the CFL with the Argos)?" Rison asked rhetorically. "That's a flattering question, considering I have numerous bubble gum cards with a lot of stats on the back of them. I think that's self-explanatory, so I shouldn't have to explain anything to anyone.

"I'm the first one to slap myself for the mistake I made, but I felt as though (for) what I did, I deserved an opportunity and a chance to play in the National Football League. But unfortunately it's not (happened). I'm in the CFL and I'm a CFL player and that's where I'm at."

Rison also addressed the recent stories alleging he missed child-support payments. His longtime business manager, Bill Thies, said Rison made the payments but they hadn't been processed properly. He added Rison is in the pre-production stages of filming commercials that address the issues of child-support payments and help fathers understand their rights.

"It was an unfortunate situation (the alleged missed payments), but it is addressed and I'm here to play football," he said. "Myself and my kids have a great relationship and we will always have that."

Argos coach Pinball Clemons said there is no set timetable for Rison, who is currently on the practice roster, to play. The Argos' next game is Friday in B.C., against the Lions.

"Right now he's more of a mentor than anything," Clemons said. "He has to turn into more of a player. He can definitely catch the ball, we know that. He does some good things in terms of his body position and route running. He had been doing some working out, but there's a difference between working out and being in football shape. He has got a little bit more work to do, but we just want to be patient.

"The understanding for us is that he, at worst case, provides some leadership for a young receiving corps and helps to bring a little bit more energy into the room as we continue to grow as a football team."


-- statistics --



Andre Rison   Michigan St.
Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
2004 Tor 14 174 12.4 35 1
2005 Tor 1 4 4.0 4 0
Total 7 15 178 11.9 90 1


-- NFL --



Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
1989 Ind 52 820 15.8 61 4
1990 Atl 82 1,208 14.7 75 10
1991 Atl 81 976 12.0 39 12
1992 Atl 93 1,119 0.0 71 11
1993 Atl 86 1,242 14.4 53 15
1994 Atl 81 1,088 13.4 69 8
1995 Cle 47 701 14.9 59 3
1996 Jax 34 458 13.5 61 2
GB 13 135 10.4 22 1
1997 KC 72 1,092 15.2 45 7
1998 KC 40 542 13.6 80 5
1999 KC 21 218 10.4 20 0
2000 Oak 41 606 14.8 49 6
Total 12 743 10,205 13.7 80 84





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