Bashir Levingston DONE with the Argos?

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Argos star returner Bashir Levingston may not be returning to the team unless the two sides can agree on a contract restructuring.

The Argos informed Levingston a week ago he had to take a pay cut because of budget reasons. Argo general manager Adam Rita said yesterday the situation could come to a head by March 1 when the player is due a bonus.

"We want him back," Rita said. "We want to give him some space and let him see what's going on. We just don't want to throw him on the street. We want to give him a choice, just like Mookie."

That was a reference to receiver Derrell (Mookie) Mitchell, who declined a pay cut two years ago when the option was presented to him and was released in a move that ruffled many Argo fans. He signed a couple days later with Edmonton.

Levingston has been with the team for four years and has accomplished plenty, including being named the Canadian Football League's Outstanding Special Teams Award winner in 2003.

He set a league record for most kick-return touchdowns that year. He also had two costly fumbles in last year's Eastern final, but took responsibility for it.

It's believed Levingston is the highest-paid returner in the league, earning about $130,000. But he has only been a bit player on offence and defence since 2003, despite publicly expressing his wishes.

The Argos have several starters who can also return punts and kicks, including receivers Arland Bruce and Tony Miles and cornerback Adrion Smith, but would prefer not to expose them to a possible injury.

The possible availability of Winnipeg's Keith Stokes, who is set to explore free agency on Thursday, may be an option. He has been given more opportunities than Levingston to showcase his versatility as more than just a returner.

Levingston said yesterday he wished the club would have presented him with its restructuring demands a month or two ago instead of so close to the start of free agency.

He's currently weighing his options and talking to other teams.

"I'd love to be back here," he said. "We'll see how everything goes with money and everything else. I should know in a week or two. But I'll be alright."

Notes: The Argos have re-signed receiver Michael Palmer, and extended the contract of defensive halfback Clifford Ivory ... Quarterback Eric Crouch still hasn't been signed but he's scheduled to be in town later this week.

Where would he go if not with Toronto?

I say Ottawa, they need to sign somebody.

ottawa won't pay 130K for a kick returner......... they could spend that same money on ranek, or hudson...

Maybe with Edmonton just like when Mookie Mitchell signed with them after the Argos wouldn't resign him for what he wanted. Probably lots of under-the-table like money in Edmonton that flows down the, what is it, North Saskatchwan river and into Hughie's mouth.

edmonton has a kick returner who did better than levingston last year...why would they pay to pick up a returner who isnt as good as they one they got?

i think he'll take the pay cut.

Levingston is an interesting guy....... He usually plays well, accomplishes what he sets out to do, but occasionally behaves like a total moron. With some of his antics last year, he should consider himself lucky that he still has a place with the Argos, take the pay cut and understand his specific role with the team.
On the other hand, if he went somewhere else, pulled some of his silliness with say the Don in Montreal, he might realise he hasn't got it so bad having Pinball yell at him every once in a while.
Note to Als fans: That isn't meant as a shot at Matthews. He has a different style than Pinball and seems to be more vocal in expressing dissatisfaction.

yeah, he's name is Tucker, the guy who returned a 96 yard kickoff for a TD in the Grey Cup, if I'm not mistaken.

i always get tucker and tompkins confused.

I didn't mean to be mean, just wanted to point that out.

Tucker is a wide receiver. It is Tony Tompkins who is the eskimos returner.

that's the guy that made the 96 yard Kickoff TD?

Tompkins from the Esks just recently made news when he was “forced” to stay with Edmonton instead of bolting for the NFL. Thinking how he had signed a 1year + option, when in fact it was 2year +. The bottom line is he reportedly has a $40,000 annual contract plus some bonuses. That’s quite a difference from Bashir.

Forty grand sounds cheap...but he probably charges Hughy, 10 grand a car wash,no waxing included.

Yes...You were watching the game...right?

not much noise coming out of cowtown lately.......could the stamps be interested....

yeah, just forgot. I was going for Montreal in that game.