04/30/2015 05:02 EDT | Updated 08/08/2015 08:59 EDT

Michael 'Pinball' Clemons gets Canadian citizenship

On the football field they call him 'Pinball.' In the customs line they'll call him a Canadian citizen.

Michael Clemons, the great Toronto Argonauts running back, officially became a citizen alongside his wife, Diane, this week, the Argos said in a news release.

Clemons was born in Florida but came to play for the Argos in 1989, going on to enjoy a remarkable 12-year career in the CFL before going on to coach the team. Clemons is now the Argos' vice chair.

"I didn't mean to fall in love but I did. Almost 26 years ago I came to Canada to pursue my passion for football.  That passion for football has never waned and is only exceeded by my love for this great country," Clemons said in a news release put out by the team.

Clemons is one of just four players to have his number retired by the club, and has remained a prominent figure in Toronto and across Canada. This summer, Clemons will serve as the "official quarterback" of the volunteer team at the TO2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.

While Clemons was successful in his citizenship application, other CFL players, including Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Henry Burris, have pointed out the difficulties American-born players face in attaining Canadian citizenship.