Argonauts pick up option on Damon Allen

Quarterback Damon Allen confirmed Thursday that the Toronto Argonauts picked up his contract option for next season.

During Grey Cup week, Damon Allen came by the Toronto Argonauts' offices to pick something up and found two envelopes waiting for him.

Inside one of them was a cheque. Inside the other was a letter informing him that his option was being picked up.

"I read it and had somewhat of a surprised look on my face," the 44-year-old quarterback recalled Thursday after a media conference naming Rich Stubler as Toronto's new head coach.

Allen had figured his days with the Argos were over after the 19-9 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Eastern final last month and even said so at the time.

He still doesn't know what the Argos have in store for him and his future will remain uncertain for a while yet, as Stubler settles into his role.

"It's new and surprising in the sense I'm not sure if other teams expressed interest, so they decided to pick up my option,"Allen said. "I'm not sure what the case is.

"There're a lot of dynamics that, obviously, I have to take a look at and I'm willing to wait at this time. They picked up my option, so I couldn't do anything anyway.

"I'm just going to wait until the dust clears. I think that's the sound thing to do."

Tied tobench

Michael Bishop emerged as Toronto's starter this season, while Allen ended up tied to the bench.

Stubler, who has final say on all personnel matters, said he won't make any decisions on Allen until after Christmas.

"That's something I have to think about," he said. "We're under a salary-management system where everybody has to toe the line.

"We have to know how many dollars we can spend, what we can risk and what we can't risk. I've won three Grey Cups with Damon, so Damon is very close to my heart."

The future of offensive co-ordinator Steve Buratto will likely play a role in the decision.

He was to be interviewed for Montreal's vacant head coaching position, and whoever is in charge of Toronto's offence will likely have a say.

Might consider coaching

Allen, pro football's all-time passing leader with 72,381 yards, would also like to wait and see what happens, as he doesn't want to be stuck with a co-ordinator who doesn't want him.

He's also not sure what he wants to do.

He might consider going into coaching if the right opportunity comes up.

"I want to be a coach like everybody else wants to be a coach, a head coach," Allen said. "Over a generation, [Ron] Lancaster came from the field and became a coach, [Kent] Austin had the opportunity.

"I would be prepared because I believe quarterbacks are much more prepared to understand the big picture on both sides of the game to be a head coach."

Allen isn't willing to take just any job.

"If you don't play the game, you want to be in a position of leadership," he said. "There's only a few positions of leadership you can be in, the head coach, the GM, the president."