- Free Agency
TORONTO — The Toronto Argonauts announced Monday morning the extensions of slotback/kick returner Chad Owens, as well as centre Jeff Keeping through the 2015 season.
“Chad and Jeff represent two key members of our football club. They have both performed at a very high level for us on the field, and both have exhibited rarely found leadership qualities that are crucial to maintaining a positive culture within our locker room. We are very happy they have committed to being Argonauts for the foreseeable future,” said GM Jim Barker.
Owens, who exploded into 2014 by returning a punt 83 yards for a touchdown in last Thursday’s season opener, enjoyed another productive season in 2013. He led the CFL in both combined yards (2,298) and receptions (94) and was named an East Division All-Star at the receiving position.
In his four years with the team, The Flyin’ Hawaiian has accumulated over 3,600 receiving yards on 305 catches as well as over 8,000 return yards. His best season in Double Blue came in 2012 when he broke Argos legend Michael “Pinball” Clemons’ record for most all-purpose yards in a single season with 3,863.
That same season Owens was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player and also collected his first Grey Cup as a member of the Argonauts. Most recently, Owens placed ninth on the CFL on TSN’s annual CFL Top 50 Players list.
“This is a very exciting day. I would like to thank the Argonauts organization for allowing me to remain in the city I love and play the game that I love. Toronto has become a second home for me and my family. My teammates in the locker room as well as the fans have become extensions of our family, and I’m looking forward to building on the many successes we’ve already experienced together,” said Owens.
Keeping, meanwhile, had his best season as an Argonaut in 2013. He was not only named an East Division All-Star but won the Leo Dandurand Memorial Trophy as the East Division’s Outstanding Offensive Lineman.
The man they call “Keep” returns to the Argonauts after spending the last four seasons with the Argos, and seven seasons in total. The Uxbridge, Ontario native was selected in the second round (18th overall) by the Boatmen in the 2005 CFL Draft and was named the Argos’ nominee for Most Outstanding Rookie.
Keeping has played 131 games for the Double Blue, as well as nine (9) playoff games, and was the team’s staring Centre for their 100th Grey Cup win at home. Keeping recently named finished 46th on the CFL on TSN’s CFL Top 50 Players list.
“I’m very happy to be able to continue my career in my hometown near my family and friends. I would like to thank the Argonauts organization for their commitment to me as a player. I would also like to thank the fans and my teammates for their support. I’m excited to continue to build on what we’ve started here together as we work hard to get back to the Grey Cup,” said Keeping.