Levingston STAYS with Argos

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There is a chance Bashir Levingston will stay with the Argos.

The team talked to the return specialist about renegotiating his contract on the weekend and presented him with the revised terms yesterday. Levingston is in the final year of a deal scheduled to pay him $125,000, including a $20,000 bonus slated to be paid out tomorrow.

Levingston is mulling over the deal with his wife and parents, and likely will talk with the team today.

"I like it here and this is where I got my start, but I've got to look (the offer) over and see what's best," he said. "There are 40 people on the (starting roster from last last year) and all 40 won't be back. Wherever you go it's always going to be like that. Some people are higher up on the food chain."

Levingston has been with the team since 2002 and has established himself as arguably the best pure returner in the Canadian Football League, but appeared to be expendable following the signing last week of free agent Keith Stokes. He played the last two years with Winnipeg, proving himself as a solid returner/receiver. Levingston has been used almost exclusively as a returner by Toronto, but wants to do more.

Levingston didn't know in what direction the team planned to go with after signing Stokes and asked for his release.

"It's surprising that they would want us both, but it's cool," he said. "I'd love to be back. It's my home away from home. I've got a lot of great memories and moments. It's something I've got to take into consideration."

Winnipeg received permission from the Argos last week to talk to Levingston's agent about working out a deal. Blue Bombers' general manager Brendan Taman said he'd be interested in Levingston if the Argos picked up a portion of his contract and the player agreed to restructure his contract, but Levingston has not yet talked to the Bomberst.

If the Argos release Levingston, there is a good chance he could surface in the East, specifically with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who need a returner.


The Argos secured the last of their starting offensive linemen, agreeing to terms with Jude St. John ... The Saskatchewan Roughriders signed non-import kicker Rob Pikula to replace departing veteran Paul McCallum ... The Ticats signed import running back Anthony Davis to a one-year contract .

if they work something out with Levingston, does Stokes become trade bait?

My message to Taman is this "don't let this big fish get away, or you will be the one in hot water!!"

...if the Argos keep him ...they better get out the cash.....Stokes AND Levingston...on the same team....quite a duo.. quite a chunk of cash....and oh my what that's gonna do to their salary cap...goodluck.. :roll:

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Trade talks between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Toronto Argonauts regarding kick returner Bashir Levingston appear to be dead.

"It's not going anywhere right now," Argos general manager Adam Rita said yesterday.

The Argos are still trying to deal Levingston, who became expendable when the team signed Keith Stokes away from the Bombers, even though he is likely to be released by tomorrow if no trade goes through.

Takes a pay cut

The Bombers expressed interest in Levingston, who is scheduled to make $125,000 this season despite the fact that Toronto coaches don't believe he's good enough to play a position, but only if the player takes a pay cut and the Argos are willing to eat part of his remaining salary.

In an e-mail from Tampa, Fla., where he is attending NFL Europe training camp, Bombers GM Brendan Taman acknowledged it was fair to say a trade was unlikely at this point.

"Affirmative ... I thought that all along," he said.

The Argos would rather trade Levingston to a West Division team than release him, especially since the Eastern rival Hamilton Tiger-Cats are interested in his services.

"We're talking to other teams, and preferably we'll send him out west," Rita said, adding that the team is willing to eat some salary, to a point.

"If it's too much, we might as well just keep him."

Levingston, who has 12 return touchdowns the last three seasons, is due a $20,000 bonus tomorrow and could be released as early as today.

Levingston recently told the Sun that he would like to come to Winnipeg and added: "Nobody who is a primary kick returner in this league is a better position player than me."

Rita laughed at that comment.

"We would have loved to have him play another position," he said, and left it at that.

Taman said all else is quiet at the moment, although he continues to pursue free agent safety Richard Karikari, who is exploring NFL possibilities, while also talking to free- agent receivers Elijah Thurmon and Gilles Colon.

AROUND THE CFL: The Saskatchewan Roughriders signed three key non-imports yesterday, including middle linebacker Mike McCullough, who started a playoff game last year, running back Neal Hughes and Rob Pikula, a place-kicker/punter who immediately becomes the front-runner to replace the departed Paul McCallum. Pikula was the top kicker in the CIS last year with the University of Western Ontario Mustangs. The 'Riders are also expected to sign running back Corey Holmes, the West Division's most outstanding player last year, to a long-term contract extension in the near future ... The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have signed import running back Anthony Davis, who was on the practice roster of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts last year ... Reggie Durden, who was traded from the Montreal Alouettes to the Edmonton Eskimos last week, was unhappy with the deal but managed to see a bright side. "I'm not on a sorry team," he told the Montreal Gazette. "They could have traded me to Saskatchewan."

He is a very good KR no doubt but id like to see tanman spend the cash on guys like Karhikai and Thurman first, before he goes after levingston.

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It was an offer he simply couldn't refuse.

After weighing his options, return specialist Bashir Levingston has decided to accept the Argos offer to restructure his contract.

Levingston had been scheduled to receive a bonus payment of $20,000 today on his existing contract, which was scheduled to pay him $125,000, but the Argos indicated to him on the weekend they wanted to re-do the deal.

With the recent signing of free agent Keith Stokes, who is an established returner and receiver, Levingston became too expensive for the Argos purely as a returner.

After dialoguing yesterday with Argos general manager Adam Rita, Levingston decided to stay with the team for which he has played since joining the Canadian Football League in 2002.

"I just wanted assurances about my role and what I'd be doing," he said last night.

Levingston, who has recorded 12 touchdown returns for the Argos, wants to be more than just a one-way player. He played some cornerback for the Argos in his rookie year and has been used occasionally since in that role or as a receiver.

"I still must hard work every day in practice to get more playing time," he said. "I know I can do it."

Had Levingston declined the Argo offer, he would have been released, but would have had offers from other teams.

"I'm happy (the decision process is over)," he said. "I don't have to move to another city or province, so that's cool."

Rita hoped to have both Stokes and Levingston because it would allow the team to use Stokes more on offence. Stokes, who played the last two years in Winnipeg, posted single-season personal bests in the pro level in 2005 with 58 catches and 832 receiving yards.

what a fool, he might have earned a little more in Winnipeg. and Taman has once again let a potential good player go. If the Bombers don't make the playoffs this year, Taman should without a doubt leave the team.

hmmm, I wonder what there plan in toronto is right now....why sign 2 KR? :?: :roll:

Plus Kanga , we dont have a lot of money, and we are trying to go after karikari right now.

I beg to differ there HLCNT3, I think the Bombers have the money, Taman is just too afraid to spend it to put a good team together.

well we got AJ right now as KR, i no levingston could play different postions, but still, id rather have our money spent on a really good DB like karikari, and if not him, well need a replacment for milt when he retires and I think we should get Elijah Thurman

Toronto could gain a quarter of a million dollars by letting go of Bashir Levingston and John Avery, and they would not be any less performing. If I was Rita, I'd be in a hurry to free up this much cap room.

I'm still thinking it could be Avery on his way out, especially since they are three deep at RB with Avery, Stokes and Johnson all allegedly very capable, with at least two more behind those three.

stokes is not a primary rb and is completely useless as one. if you want to use him he has to be thrown in as the 2nd rb or sb. and if you have him in the backfield your oline better be good bc he couldn't block wade miller coming at him.

So you see him as another Avery?

I would not be surprised is the Argos package Bashir, Avery and Bishop out west. Of the three, I would hate to lose Bishop who has the most up side.

send Avery to ottawa

that a great idea Dgod, he would do wodders for the team and the league! :smiley:

Ottawa should go after someone else although I still think Avery does have some life left in him for sure.

...if you think the Argos are deep in the rb. position ...how about possible kick-returners...and some of the best in the league....Levingston.....Stokes.....Bruce....and I bet Baker could run back a few.....can't see To. sitting on this situation very long....ties up way too much dough in one position....someones gonna go...Rita ain't dumb... :wink: