Onterrio to Winnipeg?
April 27, 2006
Sportsnet.ca -- A day after the Toronto Argonauts made news by placing former Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams on their negotiation list the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have followed suit doing the same with former Minnesota Vikings running back Onterrio Smith.
Sportsnet Football Insider Eric Tillman reports that the Bombers secured the exclusive CFL playing rights to Smith, who was released by the Vikings in recent days. When Minnesota hired new head coach Brad Childress this off-season, he promised to cleanse the organization of those with off-field issues.
An exceptional talent, the 5-10, 220-pound Smith was selected by Minnesota in the fourth round of the 2003 draft. He immediately labelled himself "the steal of the draft" and in his rookie year, seemed to be prophetic as he set a club single-game rushing record gaining 148 yards against the Chicago Bears.
Even though he led the Vikings in rushing the subsequent season, 2004, he did so missing four games due to an NFL suspension for violation of the league's substance abuse policy. It would prove to be the first of three violations for Smith.
Last fall he was detained at a Minneapolis airport for being in possession of a device that was designed to beat drug testing.The former Oregon Duck, who began his collegiate career at Tennessee, claimed the kit was not his and was not charged.
If Smith were to come to the CFL after violating the NFL's substance abuse guidelines, he would not be the first to do so. Two current members of the Toronto Argonauts, R. Jay Soward and Bernard Williams, first round draft choices in Jacksonville and Philadelphia respectively, came North after league-related issues.