Dontrelle Inman has cut short his return to the Toronto Argonauts.
Toronto placed the veteran receiver on the retired list Monday, one day after he opened training camp with the CFL club. Inman, 34, spent two seasons with the Argonauts (2012-13) before heading to the NFL and suiting up for the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers (2014-16, 2019), Chicago Bears (2017), Indianapolis Colts (2018), New England Patriots (2019) and Washington Commanders (2020).
Inman decided to continue playing football after serving as coaching intern last year with the NFC-champion Philadelphia Eagles. And when Jim Barker, then a senior adviser with the Argos, came calling, Inman figured the best place to finish his playing career was where it essentially began.
Inman helped Toronto win the 100th Grey Cup in 2012 after being signed in 2011 as an undrafted free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Barker was the Argos' GM in 2012 but recently left the CFL franchise to rejoin TSN as a football analyst.
Inman's retirement was surprising given the six-foot-three, 205-pound receiver not only looked to be in terrific condition, he performed very well during Sunday's opening practice. Afterwards, he talked openly about wanting to continue to play and what he could bring to the table for his former team, which will be defending a Grey Cup title in 2023.
"A little déjà vu especially the first day and me walking out and seeing the locker room, seeing my name on the locker," Inman said. "I've been retired the last two years working on what my second career was going to be but I decided I needed to try and close the final chapter, which was here.
"This is where it started, this was the stepping stone for me and my career. I was blessed to be part of this organization and I'm blessed to be able to come back. I had offers from many other teams up here but I was only talking to the one person who got me here, which was Jim Barker. He's the reason why I'm here."
Argos head coach Ryan Dinwiddie said Sunday was pleased with what he saw from Inman.
"We didn't work Dontrelle out this off-season but he came in shape and I was really impressed Day 1 with him," Dinwiddie said.
Inman had 100 catches for 1,542 yards and 11 touchdowns over two seasons with Toronto, which released Inman following the '13 season so he could pursue NFL opportunities. The former Virginia star appeared in 75 career games south of the border, registering 188 receptions for 2,445 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Inman's best NFL season was 2016 when he caught 58 passes for 810 yards and four scores with the Chargers.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 15, 2023.