Michael Bishop has three days to decide if he'll report for the opening of training camp with the Kansas City Brigade of the Arena Football League.
If he does, that could preclude the quarterback from returning to the Toronto Argonauts until after the conclusion of the AFL season. And that might not be until after the Arena Bowl, the AFL championship game, on July 29.
Bishop is one of five CFL players who have signed with AFL teams, whose season begins in early March.
Besides Bishop, the Argos have lost defensive back Jermaine Mays to Grand Rapids, while the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have seen third-string QB Ryan Dinwiddie sign with Arizona and defensive end Ron Warner with San Jose. Edmonton Eskimos defensive back Keyuo Craver has also joined Arizona.
The problem has resulted in hurried meetings between officials of both leagues. Both sides, however, are saying little.
"Talks are ongoing and constructive and there is the intent to have a resolution that works well for both leagues," CFL COO Michael Copeland said in an email from Miami where he is attending the Super Bowl.
AFL spokesperson Chris McCloskey added: "The AFL has tremendous respect for the CFL and ... we are working with the CFL right now on a solution to the player issue."
Bishop was coy when contacted at his Texas home. "I might go to camp," he said. "I haven't decided yet."
The strong-armed QB has played in the AFL the past two seasons. In 2004, after his contact with the Argos expired, he joined Grand Rapids. Last spring, he signed with Chicago after obtaining his release from the Argos, but saw little playing time. He returned to the Argos in August and signed a contract that contains the mandatory option clause binding him to the CFL for 2007.
Brigades spokesperson B.J. Cardin said Bishop signed with the club last October "after the end of the CFL season."
Told that the CFL season did not end until mid-November, Cardin said he could not say whether Bishop was under contract to the Argos "because I haven't seen the contract."
Bishop, who has been with the Argos since 2002, led the team to two important wins late last season in relief of starter Damon Allen. Based on those performances and the fact Allen is approaching his 44th birthday in July, Bishop is in a better position to grab the No.1 role. But he must be in training camp to gain that job.
Bishop can earn a reported $70,000 (U.S.) as the starter for the Brigade and understandably is reluctant to give up that kind of money. However, the Star has learned that the Argos have offered to cover that loss if he forsakes the AFL season.
Bishop declined comment on whether such an offer had been made and if it would impact his decision.
Argos president Keith Pelley would only say the team is having "ongoing discussion with Bishop. We hope to see him at training camp battling for the No.1 position."
Cardin said he expects Bishop to be in camp on Monday.
so, i guess we'll know if damon allen is the argos '07 starter or not on monday?!