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Argos would consider drug tests on Williams if he signs


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TORONTO ? (AP) ? Ricky Williams may have to take a drug test if the running back wants to play for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.


The NFL suspended Williams for a year last month for his fourth violation of the league's substance abuse policy. Since the suspension, Williams' agent Leigh Steinberg has indicated that the 1998 Heisman winner is seriously interested in playing in the CFL.


The CFL has no formal drug testing policy, but Toronto president Keith Pelley said the team could conduct its own tests if the Miami Dolphins allow Williams to play for the Argonauts.


"It's something that we've talked about internally. ... Certainly, it would be an area that we would at least

discuss,'' Pelley said during a conference call.


Pelley cautioned that the team isn't yet discussing drug testing and other contract demands with the 28-year-old Williams because he still needs permission from the Dolphins to speak directly with Argos officials.


Pelley said he expected to hear soon ? possibly by the end of the week ? on whether permission will be granted. He said the Dolphins are debating whether they would benefit if Williams kept playing while he sits out the 2006 NFL season, or whether the injury risk is too high.


Pelley said both Williams and Steinberg "thoroughly understand and appreciate'' their requirement that Williams not only stay clean, but also promote a drug-free lifestyle to Toronto youth. The team has made conscious efforts in recent years to highlight their players as community role models, Pelley said.


"It is absolutely crucial that before we would proceed with Ricky Williams that he is prepared to be absolutely clean and more importantly, educate the youth of Toronto to say no to drugs,'' Pelley said. "If he's not prepared to do that, we would not sign him, even if he was prepared to play for free.''

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