January 10, 2011

Argos lock up leading receiver Copeland


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — The Toronto Argonauts have signed veteran receiver Jeremaine Copeland to a contract extension.

The move ensures that Copeland will not enter free agency next month.

Despite missing four games due to injury last season, Copeland led the Argos with 639 receiving yards on 48 catches with three touchdowns.

In Toronto’s two playoff games, he led all Argos receivers with 11 catches for 121 yards and one touchdown.

The move comes after the Argos re-signed potential free agents Ronald Flemons and Bryan Crawford last week.

Other Argos starters eligible for free agency on Feb. 16 include defensive tackles Adriano Belli, Eric Taylor and Kevin Huntley and defensive back Lin-J Shell.

“We originally traded for Copeland to bring us veteran leadership and a winning attitude to Toronto and he did both,” Jim Barker, Toronto’s general manager and coach, said in a release. “He is another key piece of our puzzle as we move forward and I’m thrilled to have him back as an Argonaut.”

The Argos exceeded expectations in 2010, finishing the regular season 9-9 and advancing to the Eastern Conference final.

“We surprised a lot of people last year and we were a young team,” Copeland said. “Now we have another year to come together and be better than we were last year and give the Argos fans a reason to wear their Double Blue around town. I know that’s what we have in our team and that’s why I signed back.”

In 10 CFL seasons with Toronto, Calgary and Montreal, Copeland has caught 579 passes for 9,382 yards and 75 touchdowns.