Argos looking for QB

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Damon Allen, who performs like someone 15 years his junior, will turn 43 shortly after the start of the 2006 CFL season.

And it appears that Michael Bishop, who is again spending the off-season in the Arena League, won't be back.

So the door appears to be open for former Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch to realize his ambition to quarterback a professional football team.

Crouch, who starred at Nebraska, will be in Toronto next Wednesday to work out for the Argonauts' coaching staff.

If both sides like what they see in each other, Crouch would join last year's No.3 pivot, Charlie Peterson, and likely one or two other candidates in seeking the No.2 job behind Allen with the opportunity to be his successor.

Argos offensive co-ordinator Kent Austin won't be on hand when Crouch goes through his workout. He'll be in a hospital bed having just undergone surgery to correct a hip problem resulting from 10 years as a prolific passer with four CFL teams, including the Argos.

Austin will get an opportunity to view tapes of the session when he's released from hospital, but he's already watched footage of the 27-year-old's performance at college and talked with his former coaches.

Austin said he starts with three criteria in evaluating quarterbacks: decision-making ability, passing accuracy and mental and physical toughness. "His decision making and intelligence can be determined to some extent just by talking to him," Austin said. "I understand he's a very bright guy. To do what he did in college, he would have to be a good decision maker.

"As far as his passing accuracy goes, that can be ferreted out in the drills next week. But, to be fair, he's never had to do things in my offence before."

As for Crouch's toughness, Austin said the fact three NFL teams tried to convert him to a defensive back attests to his willingness to hit and be hit.

Crouch was a defensive back last summer with the Hamburg Sea Devils in NFL Europe.

Austin said he's not concerned that Crouch hasn't played quarterback since leaving college.

"Kerry Joseph (Ottawa Renegades) didn't play quarterback for six or seven years," he said. "Crouch, like Joseph, played quarterback all his life until the NFL, so the position is still familiar to them."

I imagaine that they would be in the hunt for an Allen replacement, but who will fill his shoes???