John Candy tried signing him to CFL’s Toronto Argonauts


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NFL legend Joe Montana didn’t take any trains, planes or automobiles to play in Canada. 

But the four-time Super Bowl champion said beloved comedian and Toronto Argonauts co-owner John Candy tried signing the legendary quarterback in the early 1990s.

“He was trying to get me to go to Canada,” Montana said on The Rich Eisen show. “They just didn’t have enough money,” Montana said. 

“But if the price was right —“ Eisen responded. 

“I might have been wearing an Argonaut uniform,” Montana said, adding there were a couple of meetings.

“So this is real?” an incredulous Eisen asked. “It wasn’t just a ‘oh by the way.’”

Montana warming up before the NFC championship game on Jan. 16, 1990.

“No no no,” Montana said. 

“I love that,” Eisen said. 

Montana and Candy are famously linked to Super Bowl XXII. The 49ers legend pointed out the “Uncle Buck” star to his teammates while in the huddle before completing the game-winning drive for a 20-16 victory over the Bengals. Montana would hit John Taylor for a touchdown with 34 seconds remaining.

Two years later, in 1991, the Argonauts were purchased by LA Kings owner Bruce McNall with Kings superstar Wayne Gretzky and Candy becoming minority owners. 

Toronto Argonauts co-owner John Candy (right) hoists the Eastern Division cup with Argonauts players on Nov. 17, 1991.
Toronto Argonauts co-owner John Candy (right) hoists the Eastern Division cup with Argonauts players on Nov. 17, 1991.
Toronto Star via Getty Images

The team stunned the sports world by signing Notre Dame star Raghib “Rocket” Ismail, the projected number one pick in the NFL draft, to a four-year, $18.2 million deal. And the Argonauts won the 1991 Grey Cup with Ismail earning Grey Cup MVP honors. 

Then they set their sights on Joe Cool.

“We’d won the championship and so forth and I thought to myself, ‘Maybe there’s a way of getting a real superstar player who is nearing the end of his career,” McNall told The Mercury News in 2016. “Maybe it would be someone who wants to try a different venue and become the biggest gun in Canada’s history.”

Alas, the Argonauts ownership couldn’t convince Montana to leave the NFL. Despite the fact, he’d been battling injuries and Steve Young for the 49ers’ starting job.

Montana was traded to the Chiefs before the 1993 season and spent the final two seasons of his illustrious career in Kansas City.

Candy died of a heart attack in 1994 at the age of 43. 

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