July 19, 1991 |
With knees shaking and confidence breaking, with cynics and supporters, celebrities and reporters watching, the Rocket finally blasted off Thursday night. Launchings that attract this much attention usually occur at Cape Canaveral. But this one happened at Toronto's SkyDome, where wide receiver/kick return specialist Raghib (Rocket) Ismail made his long-awaited debut for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League in the team's home opener before a crowd of 41,178.
July 18, 1991 |
The jetliner, trimmed in silver and black, taxied from the runway Wednesday and came to a halt. A formation of 10 limousines drove out to meet it. As the doors of the aircraft opened, the photographers started clicking away. With comedian John Candy serving as a one-man welcoming committee, they emerged: actress Mariel Hemingway, actor Jim Belushi, Wayne Gretzky, Bruce McNall and 25 others, heavyweights from the sports, entertainment and business fields.
July 12, 1991 |
Raghib (Rocket) Ismail's introduction to the Canadian Football League was met by a chorus of boos. A crowd of 23,254 at Ottawa booed heartily when the public address announcer informed them that the Toronto Argonauts' rookie from Notre Dame was not dressed for the CFL opener because of a leg injury. However, Ismail got a vote of confidence from Argonaut owner Bruce McNall. "His attitude is great," McNall said at halftime.
July 8, 1991 |
Raghib (Rocket) Ismail's status for his first pro football game is in jeopardy after a visit to a Los Angeles doctor about his injured left leg. Ismail, the $18-million speedster who signed with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts instead of playing in the NFL, won't return to Toronto until Tuesday night. The delay means it's unlikely the wide receiver-kick returner from Notre Dame will make the season opener in Ottawa on Thursday.
June 27, 1991 |
An injured leg muscle stalled Raghib (Rocket) Ismail's planned debut in the Canadian Football League Wednesday night. Ismail, the first pick in last May's NFL draft before being lured north with a four-year contract that could pay him $26 million, wore a baseball cap, not a Toronto Argonaut helmet, as he watched his team's 29-15 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the exhibition opener before 31,196 in the 53,595-seat SkyDome.
April 27, 1991 |
We pause a moment for thought and reflection on the international transaction whereby Raghib Ismail, doing business as the Rocket, signs to entertain for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. The Rocket says he chooses Toronto because he likes the way its owner, Bruce McNall, treats people. If McNall likes you, he gives you upward of $4.5 million a year. Now that's a nice way to treat people. If he wants to treat them nicer, he will give them upward of $9 million a year.
April 26, 1991 |
Raghib (Rocket) Ismail might be considering playing football in two leagues this year. Thus Ismail's lawyers are getting ready to petition the NFL to allow him to finish as a Raider next fall when the Canadian season is over, a source close to his advisory team said Thursday. They are even contemplating a lawsuit against the NFL, if necessary, the source said. Ismail, a Notre Dame junior, who was unavailable for comment, avoided the subject in a prepared statement.
April 25, 1991 |
In a surprising twist to an already intriguing story, King owner Bruce McNall said Wednesday night that receiver Raghib (Rocket) Ismail is free to work out a Bo Jackson-type deal in which he could play for both the Toronto Argonauts and the Raiders next season. "I don't even know if the Rocket knows about this," McNall said in Edmonton, where he was attending his team's NHL playoff game against the Oilers. "But if (Raider owner) Al (Davis) wanted to do it, I wouldn't stand in his way."
April 24, 1991 |
The owner of the Dallas Cowboys says Raghib (Rocket) Ismail has a clause in his four-year contract with the Toronto Argonauts that will let him leave the Canadian Football League after one year. If he stays in Canada for the full four years of the contract, Argonaut owner Bruce McNall, who also owns the NHL Kings, has guaranteed him $18.2 million. The Raiders own the NFL rights to Ismail, having drafted him in the fourth round Sunday.