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Argos say Kelly not currently participating in team activities

Chad Kelly Toronto Argonauts Chad Kelly - Getty Images

GUELPH, Ont. — The Toronto Argonauts opened training camp without quarterback Chad Kelly.

Kelly, the CFL's outstanding player last season, was suspended by the league Tuesday for Toronto's two pre-season games and at least nine regular-season contests for violating its gender-based violence policy. Two days later, he was on the field at the University of Guelph during the team's rookie camp although he wasn't wearing equipment and didn't practise.

Argos GM Mike (Pinball) Clemons told reporters Thursday Kelly's participation didn't violate terms of the CFL's discipline although a league spokesman said Kelly was on the field at Toronto's discretion. However, Kelly's presence drew much criticism on social media.

The CFL's suspension followed an independent investigation commissioned by the league into a lawsuit filed by a former strength-and-conditioning coach against Kelly for sexual harassment and the club for wrongful dismissal.

Like all CFL clubs, Toronto opened training camp Sunday. But the Argos announced Kelly won't be participating in team activities.

"Chad Kelly is currently not participating in team activities," the Argos said in a statement. "The team’s focus is on training camp activities with the players available.

"Future updates will be provided as warranted."

Argonauts backup pivot Cameron Dukes took first-team reps at training camp on Sunday, according to TSN's Matthew Scianitti.

Dukes, 25, appeared in six games last season with the Argos, throwing for 760 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats opened camp Sunday minus Ted Laurent as the veteran Canadian defensive lineman announced his retirement after 12 CFL seasons. Laurent, a 36-year-old Montreal native was a two-time CFL all-star and the East Division's top Canadian in 2014.

The six-foot-one, 305-pound defensive tackle played for both Edmonton (2011-13) and Hamilton (2014-19, 2021-23). He registered a career-high nine sacks in 2014 and helped the Ticats reach the playoffs eight times over his nine seasons with the franchise, including Grey Cup appearances in 2019 and 2021.

Laurent started 144-of-187 career CFL games, registering 235 tackles (25 for loss), 53 sacks, nine forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

"I left it all out there every time I took the field and I can truly say it’s time for me to step away," Laurent said in a statement. "I want to thank all my teammates for being a part of this incredible journey.

"Thank you to Coach Reed, Coach Austin, Coach Jones and Coach O for believing in me and challenging me to be the best version of myself. Finally, thank you my wife, Ashley, for always supporting me and to my son Xavier, I’m glad you got to watch Daddy play."

Hamilton also placed Canadian linebacker Nic Cross and American offensive lineman Joel Figueroa on the six-game injured list and put global punter Bailey Flint on the suspended list. Canadian defensive lineman Mo Diallo (2021 third-round pick) and American receiver Terry Godwin (68 catches, 864 yards, six TDS last season) were both released.

Saskatchewan released veteran defensive back Jalon Edwards-Cooper on Sunday. The Riders signed Edwards-Cooper to a one-year deal in February after he spent his first three CFL seasons with the B.C. Lions.

Canadian defensive lineman Anthony Bennett was among eight players let go by Winnipeg. The six-foot, 235-pound Bennett was the Blue Bombers' '23 first-round pick and appeared in all 18 regular-season games as a rookie, recording eight tackles and three special-teams tackles.

Edmonton released defensive lineman Cole Nelson and linebacker Wesly Appolon, both Canadians who had been drafted by the CFL club.

The Elks selected Nelson, of Ponoka, Alta., in the first round, fifth overall, of the 2021 draft. The former University of Alberta star appeared in 20 career games with Edmonton, registering 13 tackles.

Appolon was a 2022 fifth-round selection out of Tuskegee University. The Montreal native appeared in one game as a rookie before suffering an injury that would sideline him for the rest of that season and 2023.

The Elks' first workout of training camp was held indoors at the Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre fieldhouse due to the air quality. And poor air quality forced Winnipeg to look at staging its opening session to sometime this afternoon although the Bombers were to provide an update later about the revised start time.

Veteran Canadian kicker Michael Domagala signed with the Ottawa Redblacks. The five-foot-nine, 200-pound St. Catharines, Ont., native appeared in five games with the CFL club last year when Canadian Lewis Ward was injured, connecting on 8-of-9 field goal tries.