August 29, 2012
Ex-CFLers back to the Great White North
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
When (or if) Jerome Messam and Solomon Elimimian return to their CFL teams in the next week or so, they may become the last of a dying breed.
In the latest CBA signed between the CFL and its Players Association, the NFL option-year window was closed. That was way back in 2010.
In the past few years, there have been bidding wars on players returning from NFL tryouts (for example, Stevie Baggs with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats two years ago) because they were free agents.
Messam and Elimimian have no other option but to return to the Edmonton Eskimos and the B.C. Lions, respectively, because they are still under contract.
Both are returning to situations where they arenít exactly needed at this moment.
Messam will join a crowded backfield with the Eskimos now that Cory Boyd was signed a couple of weeks ago upon his release by the Toronto Argonauts.
While there should be no reason Messam canít dress and fight for carries with Boyd, Hugh Charles and Calvin McCarty, the situation is less clear for Elimimian.
Messam is a Canadian and therefore has a better chance of joining the roster.
As an import, Elimimian would have to replace an import somewhere on the roster, and the Lions are getting great production out of their linebacking crew, especially Adam Bighill, the man who replaced Elimimian in the middle.
There appears to be a few other former CFLers sticking with NFL teams. Justin Medlock is the only kicker left on the Carolina Panthers roster, while Marcus Thigpen may stick with the Miami Dolphins as a kick returner and Justin Hickman may make the Indianapolis Colts roster.
Of those three players, only Thigpen would be due to come back to the Ticats, who are waiting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to release 2011 draft pick Moe Petrus.
In years to come, when players signed from the CFL to the NFL get released after training camp, it will start a second free-agent free for all.
On Twitter: @SUNIanBusby