NFL veteran Dontrelle Inman will need to ‘earn’ his roster spot in return to Argos: Ryan Dinwiddie

Photo courtesy: AP Photo/Chris Szagola

The Toronto Argonauts made an offseason splash by repatriating veteran receiver Dontrelle Inman after seven seasons in the NFL, but the organization is tempering expectations for the 34-year-old’s return.

“We’ve got to see. We haven’t gotten a chance to bring him in for a workout or any of those things, we signed him just based off the trust that he’s in shape,” head coach Ryan Dinwiddie told 3DownNation when asked about the impact Inman could have in 2023.

“He’s got a lot of experience, played in the NFL and did some good things there. He’s got experience in two leagues, but we feel good about our younger guys as well. He’s gonna have to earn his roster spot.”

Inman kickstarted his professional career with the Argos in 2012, playing in 15 games as a rookie. The University of Virginia product hauled in 50 catches for 803 yards and five touchdowns, helping the team capture the 100th Grey Cup at home.

He returned for a second season in 2013, making another 50 receptions for 739 yards and six touchdowns in 13 games. Inman leveraged that success into NFL attention following the season, signing with the San Diego Chargers.

The six-foot-three, 205-pound target would go on to play 75 NFL games with the Chargers, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, and Washington Commanders, amassing 188 catches for 2,445 yards and 13 touchdowns. His best year came in 2016 during the final NFL season in San Diego, catching 58 passes for 810 yards and four scores.

However, Inman played just 10 games during his last NFL season with Washington, registering 18 receptions for 163 yards and two touchdowns in 2020. He has been out of football for the past two seasons and is projected to be the Argos’ second oldest player next year — trailing only running back Andrew Harris.

Nevertheless, Dinwiddie sees a role for Inman in his offence if he can hold up his end of the bargain.

“With [Damonte] Coxie going down last year and seeing where he’s gonna be at his rehab — is he late to camp? I think [Inman] can be our outside receiver in the boundary,” he said. “Just the level of professionalism and what I’ve heard from other coaches who have been around him in his time in Toronto, he’s a very intelligent player. We feel like we could move him around but we kind of have him pencilled in as that boundary receiver.”

Despite finishing second in the CFL in passing yards in 2022, the Argos had just one player cross the thousand-yard receiving mark, Canadian Kurleigh Gittens Jr. Four of the team’s five starting receivers from their 109th Grey Cup victory will return next season, with Inman likely sliding into the lineup in place of last year’s veteran signee Brandon Banks, who was released this offseason.

Young players like Coxie — who had 15 catches for 210 yards in six games last year — will soon press for more playing time. Until then, Toronto is banking on Inman having enough gas in the tank to serve as a reliable veteran bridge.

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.