Former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wide receiver Joel Bradford is heading to Tampa, Fla., today for a workout Monday with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.
Bradford, a 2010 All-American who set a UTC record with 1,284 receiving yards during his junior season, received the invitation after participating in an open tryout on April 14 at D1 Sports.
The Argonauts representative who saw Bradford perform at D1 was former Moc and South Pittsburg native Chris Jones, who has the lengthy title of assistant head coach/defensive coordinator/assistant general manager.
"There were 52 players that showed up for that tryout, which I didn't expect," Bradford said. "We ran the [40-yard dash] and everything like that, and then we did one-on-ones. Afterwards I talked to Coach Jones and he later gave me a call and invited me down to Tampa."
Jones said the format for this week consists of some combine-like drills and more one-on-ones. The players who do well Monday, he said, will be kept around for Tuesday and maybe beyond.
"It's just a play-in deal," Jones said. "If he does well, he'll probably stay until Wednesday or Thursday. If he doesn't, then he'll be coming back home Tuesday."
CFL teams open training camp in May.
At 6-foot, 172 pounds, Bradford doesn't have the size or blazing speed to attract a lot of NFL attention. But like at UTC's pro day earlier this month, he has a chance to show, in person, what he can do.
"I'm going down there to show my skills and do whatever I can do," he said. "It's another tryout, another way to prove myself."
Jones joined the Argonauts in December after a successful run with the Calagary Stampeders that included the 2008 Grey Cup. He also was part of a CFL title with the Montreal Alouettes in 2002. Former Mocs wideout Cos DeMatteo has been on Toronto's staff the past two seasons.
The CFL draft is May 3, but it is restricted to 45 players from Canada. Americans such as Bradford have to sign as free agents. According to the CFL website, teams are limited to 19 "imports" out of the 39 active players -- not counting quarterbacks -- on each game-day roster.