Aside from a moral argument, I don't think there's a legitimate basis for keeping him out. As long as the Dolphins agree, there's nothing currently in the CFL regs that would stop the Argos from signing him.
TORONTO -- Ricky Williams may have to take a drug test if the running back wants to play for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.
The NFL suspended Williams for a year last month for his fourth violation of the league's substance abuse policy. Since the suspension, Williams' agent Leigh Steinberg has indicated that the 1998 Heisman winner is seriously interested in playing in the CFL.
Williams will continue to participate in the NFL's substance-abuse program, meaning he is subject to up to 10 random tests a month and must remain under the supervision of a medical adviser.
The CFL has no formal drug testing policy, but Toronto president Keith Pelley said the team could conduct its own tests if the Miami Dolphins allow Williams to play for the Argonauts.
"It's something that we've talked about internally. ... Certainly, it would be an area that we would at least discuss," Pelley said during a conference call.
Pelley cautioned that the team isn't yet discussing drug testing and other contract demands with the 28-year-old Williams because he still needs permission from the Dolphins to speak directly with Argos officials.
Pelley said he expected to hear soon -- possibly by the end of the week -- on whether permission will be granted. He said the Dolphins are debating whether they would benefit if Williams kept playing while he sits out the 2006 NFL season, or whether the injury risk is too high.
Pelley said both Williams and Steinberg "thoroughly understand and appreciate" their requirement that Williams not only stay clean, but also promote a drug-free lifestyle to Toronto youth. The team has made conscious efforts in recent years to highlight their players as community role models, Pelley said.
"It is absolutely crucial that before we would proceed with Ricky Williams that he is prepared to be absolutely clean and more importantly, educate the youth of Toronto to say no to drugs," Pelley said. "If he's not prepared to do that, we would not sign him, even if he was prepared to play for free."
There's no splitting hairs at all. He's suspended in the NFL, not the CFL -- and his suspension in the NFL was as a result of something on which the CFL's policy differs.
As for what the CFL wants, I think they'd ultimately want whatever will sell some tickets in Toronto.
It comes down to a moral argument, not a factual one. Even on a moral basis, I think the CFL's ship sailed years ago -- Bernard Williams and RJ Soward are already on the Argos roster, and they both have prior NFL substance abuse problems. Let's not even start on Andre Rison.
The CFL morals ship takes another hit as Onterrio Smith is signed by the Blue Bombers. He of the two time substance abuse offender in the NFL, and also the man famously busted with the "whizzinator" prosthetic penis at a US airport.