TORONTO -- The Toronto Argonauts announced Monday that non-import OG Joe Eppele has avoided free agency and extended his contract with the club through the 2014 season. Eppele was the Argos’ first pick, second overall, in the 2010 CFL Canadian Draft.
"Joe is a young, talented player who stepped in during the playoffs and did a very good job for our team. He continues to develop his skills and has made great strides towards becoming the player we believed he'd eventually become when we drafted him in the first round," said Argos GM Jim Barker.
"Securing quality, young Canadians, like Joe, will help us build upon our Grey Cup championship and ensure our team is positioned for long-term success."
Eppele played in all 18 regular season games, with eight starts, for Toronto this season. He also started both playoff games as well as the team’s Grey Cup victory at left guard.
"I wanted to extend my time in Toronto because I love this city, and even the locker room feels like home. My teammates are like family and I believe that winning the 100th Grey Cup with them was just the beginning of more great things to come," said Eppele.
"I'm excited to continue working with my charity program, Big Joe's Little Giants, and to continue to be here with my family who live in the GTA. I believe this is the best decision for me both on and off of the field.”
Eppele grew up in British Columbia but now lives in Toronto year round. Big Joe, as he's known to friends and teammates, has been a player ambassador for the club's Huddle Up Bullying Prevention program, presented by Tim Hortons, in each of the past two off-seasons, and has started his own program named "Big Joe's Little Giants" which sees him work closely with a local centre for abused women and children.