One-time Montreal Alouette and two-time Grey Cup champion Tony Proudfoot has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease.

The former defensive back, now a radio broadcaster, made the announcement Thursday, just hours before the B.C. Lions and hometown Toronto Argonauts were to usher in the 2007 Canadian Football League season.

Proudfoot, who played nine seasons for Montreal during the 1970s before finishing his career in B.C., intends to continue calling Alouettes games.

"We have all the confidence that Tony will face this new challenge with courage," said Alouettes chief executive officer Larry Smith.

"Tony has been a great teammate and a business partner through football and has become a good friend over the years. I want him to know we are behind him this difficult period."

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)iscommonly known asLou Gehrig's disease, after the Hall of Fame baseball player for the New York Yankees who was diagnosed with itin the 1930s.

The disease damages motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord that are an important part of the body's neuromuscular system. Over time, the motor neurons shrink and disappear, so the muscles no longer receive signals to move.

With files from the Canadian Press