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Prefontaine to sign one-day contract with Toronto and retire as an Argonaut

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TORONTO - Noel Prefontaine came into the CFL as a Toronto Argonaut, and he will leave as one too.

The veteran kicker/punter will retire after signing a one-day contract at Sunday's game between Toronto and the B.C. Lions at Rogers Centre. Prefontaine spent most of his 16-season CFL career in Toronto, winning Grey Cup championships with the team in 2004 and 2012.

"I would like to thank the Toronto Argonauts organization for giving me the opportunity to fulfil my dream of playing professional football," Prefontaine said in a statement. "I'm honoured to have played in the CFL for 16 seasons. I played the game with a strong sense of commitment and passion and can only hope I left a mark in the hearts of Argonauts fans."

Prefontaine made club history as the only Argonaut to ever be named a CFL all-star punter on six occasions. He was also named an East Division all-star 11 times (eight at punter, three at placekicker).

He holds the Argonaut records for total punts (1,464), all-time punting yards (67,061), and most punting yards in a single game (744). He also holds club records for most all-time kickoffs in a career (688), and most kickoff yards (40,521).

Prefontaine also wasn't afraid to get physical when he had to, recording 91 special teams tackles in his career.

"Internally, we considered him our MVP because he influenced the game more than any other single player on the roster," Argos vice-chair Mike (Pinball) Clemons, a former teammate of Prefontaine's, said in a statement.

"He put the special in special teams, which is exceptional but not surprising for a kicker. What's more unexpected is there were times when he was our best offensive player, leading us in scoring and changing field position with one smooth sweep of his lower left appendage.

"From unexpected to shocking, there were times he was our best defensive player, making the kinds of tackles that would make (former Argos linebacker and current Winnipeg head coach) Mike O'Shea proud."

Selected by Toronto in the 1998 supplemental draft, Prefontaine spent 10 years with the Argos before being dealt to Edmonton prior to the 2008 season.

He was traded back to the Argos during the 2010 season and was released in February.

In 254 regular-season CFL games with Toronto and Edmonton, Prefontaine has 347 field goals, 80,678 punting yards, 53,723 kicking yards, and 1,634 points.

The son of a Canadian father and a Vietnamese mother, Prefontaine began his football career at Cal State Fullerton before moving to San Diego State University.

In 1996, he set a new SDSU record for longest single punt (82 yards) and recorded 4,469 punting yards in his time with the school.

He was named a first team all-American in his senior year.

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