Argos sign a pair of Lions

The Toronto Argonauts have signed York Lions running back Andre Durie and defensive tackle Sean Simms. The Canadian Football League team made the announcement May 10, ensuring Durie and Simms will report to training camp on June 2 in Mississauga.

Sean Simms and Andrew Durie“It is good news in the sense that we have two kids going where they want to go,” Lions coach Tom Gretes said. “If they make it, great. If they come back to York, that’s great too!”

Right: Sean Simms (left) and Andre Durie

While Simms was selected by the Argos in the fifth round (37th overall) of the CFL Canadian Draft last week, Toronto picked up Durie after he went undrafted. Second in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) league in rushing in 2004, Durie hasn’t played since suffering a serious knee injury in Kingston against the Queen’s Golden Gaels in September 2005.

“There is going to be doubt about me until people see what I can do, given it’s one of the worst knee injuries that possibly can happen,” Durie said. “It’s not very often people come back from it. I feel I’m at 95 per cent. The last five per cent is a little bit mental.”

Durie tied a CIS record for touchdowns in a game (six) and set an Ontario University Athletics record for rushing yards in a game (349 against Ottawa) at York in 2003. He also set York records for single-season rushing yards (1,367), scoring (96 points) and touchdowns (15) in 2004. (See cover story on Durie in April 2005 YorkU magazine.)

“Andre Durie is undoubtedly a very talented running back whose tremendous CIS career was unfortunately cut short,” Argos assistant general manager/director of player personnel Greg Mohns told the Argos Web site. “However, he has worked diligently in trying to get back to the level that he was at physically prior to his injury. If not for that injury, there is no doubt in my mind he would have been a top-three pick in the draft.”

Simms, who sat out the 2006 football season but remained in school, led York with five sacks in 2005. The Etobicoke native played for three seasons with the Lions and put up his best statistics in 2005.

“Sean Simms is a great local talent that became one of the diamonds in the rough that we mined in the draft,” Mohns said. “He is a player who showed flashes of dominance in 2005 and oozes with physical potential.”

This story was submitted to YFile by Mike Koreen, sport & recreation information officer in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health.