Toronto Argonauts owner Bruce McNall will allow Raghib "Rocket" Ismail to play for both his Canadian Football League team and the Los Angeles Raiders if approval is granted, a newspaper reported today.
"I don't even know if the Rocket knows about this," McNall said Wednesday night in Edmonton, Alberta, where his Los Angeles Kings played an NHL playoff game."But if (Raiders owner) Al (Davis) wanted to do it, I wouldn't stand in his way," McNall told the Los Angeles Times.
A National Football League rule, however, forbids a player under contract with a CFL team from playing in the NFL in the same season.
"The rule was put there for competitive reasons," NFL spokesman Joe Browne said.
McNall said he knew about the rule but would not stand in the way if Davis could find a way to modify the stipulation.
"I have not spoken to Al about it," McNall said. "But if he wants to see if he can get the rule changed, and the NFL allowed it, I wouldn't say no."
Ismail, the former Notre Dame wide receiving star, signed a deal with the Argos on Saturday night worth a guaranteed $18.2 million over four years. On Sunday, the Raiders drafted Ismail in the fourth round of the NFL draft.
One loophole in the NFL rule would allow Ismail to play for the Raiders this year if the Rocket terminates his Argos contract before the end of the regular season in mid-November. If a deal was hammered out between McNall and Davis that would allow for Ismail's contact to end a week before the final game, he would be eligible to join the Raiders, the Times reported.
The Raiders denied that there was any such deal between them and McNall.
Asked if he was aware of an such deal, Al LoCasale, Raiders executive assistant, told the Times, "No, I haven't, to tell you the truth."