The good news for former NFL quarterback Cleo Lemon is that he finally has earned a full-time football starting job, albeit in Canada. The bad news is that not everyone in Toronto thinks that he should be the starting quarterback of the Argonauts.
Our buddy Warren McCarty has been tracking the story all the way from his ESPN Radio gig in Amarillo, having a couple of Toronto columnists on McCarty’s weekday show to discuss the situation. McCarty characterizes the reaction to the decision to go with Cleo Lemon over Dalton Bell as “utter disbelief.”
“Cleo Lemon did not win the quarterback job by any stretch,” McCarty said. “He was absolutely awful in preseason. He simply was handed the reins because he’s making the most money and he has an NFL name. Fans are going out of their minds up there right now. I had two columnists from Toronto papers on my show this morning . . . they are all in utter disbelief.”
Case in point: Lemon completed 10 of 26 passes for 99 yards, one interception, and no drives resulting in points in the preseason. Dalton Bell, on the other hand, completed 18 of 26 passes for 341 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, and 29 points scored. (The third-stringer is former Browns quarterback Ken Dorsey.)
The decision to go with Lemon possibly arose at least in part from financial considerations. David Braley, who already owned the B.C. Lions, became owner of the Argonauts earlier this year, giving Braley possession of 25 percent of the league’s eight teams. McCarty says only 12,000 showed up at the Argonauts’ home preseason game. So maybe Lemon’s NFL connection will get more people into the stadium.