Cleo Lemon's new CFL gig creates a little controversy

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.

14 responses to “Cleo Lemon's new CFL gig creates a little controversy

  1. This ticks me off so much and I am going to be upset about this all day long. Darn that lemon, darn him…… And than Florio woke up and found out no one cares.

  2. What kind of poor condition is your league in when “Cleo Lemon” is your big “NFL name” selling point?
    Canadian Football is a fun game with some interesting rule twists and a huge field. Acting like they need an American football presence just to succeed reeks of desperation, which is sad. Many Canadians love their league as it is.

  3. Cleo Lemon is “an NFL name”? I know he got chased around the field for a few games but … seriously?
    It appears that the team is trying every means necessary to drum up interest in him but their website,, seems to be trying to generate interest from a very specific demographic.

  4. The lack of ticket sales stems from the fact that they are the worst team in the league two years running, which won’t change this year with no o line.
    Winning is the only thing that will sell tickets, after all it is one of North Americas biggest markets. They already tried this sign a NFLer thing with Ricky Williams and that failed.

  5. Most Canadians couldn’t even tell you the name of every CFL team, hell I don’t even know how many teams there, are 8 or something? I’d actually rather watch Arena Football on NFLN.

  6. “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 first of many mistakes Jim Barker will make this year resulting in another long season for us long-suffering Argo faithful. Sure Jim’s a whole lot better than Bart Doofrus but I expected better.

  7. Yeah, this is big news for the Argonauts. They’ll definitely pack the stadium when their starting QB is a big celebrity like this Cleo Lime guy. Who hasn’t heard of Leo Limon? Or whatever.

  8. FireJerryJones says:
    June 23, 2010 10:48 AM
    How bad are the Browns?… their former QB is a 3rd stringer in the CFL.
    Yep. Former 3rd string QB.

  9. Bell had better stats against lesser players. It is the same as in NFL pre-season. Lemon played in the first half against 1st string defenses and Ball played against 3rd and 4th stringers trying to make a team. The coaches make decisions based on what they see in practice.

  10. And the bit about “only” 12000 people showing up for a pre-season game isn’t that bad considering the stadium only holds approx. 25000. I’m sure teams like the Jaguars or Bills would be thrilled to have almost half the stadium filled for a pre-season game.

  11. hmmm sounds like “sour” grapes to me… I’d say Toronto…. if life gives you Lemons… make lemonade!!!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!