The newest defensive back landed in Winnipeg after a 'Cat fight with Hamilton over a contract kerfuffle.
Veteran Sam Young arrived in time to practice with the Blue Bombers yesterday, mere days after the Tiger-Cats sent him packing. Young had actually been scheduled to play against the Montreal Alouettes on Saturday but his agent demanded more money.
"He said Sam had decided to reject the contract that we had agreed to, at which point I told him what I thought of both of them," Ticats GM Marcel Desjardins told the Hamilton Spectator. "We had agreed on something last week and two days before the game, he decides it's not good enough.
"I don't know if he thought he was in a position of strength and was going to be able to corner us into something but I just told him, 'We don't need that and you can go home.' "
Young, however, spent the entire off-season rehabbing from surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon and had planned to enter his option year with Hamilton. Then, a week before training camp, the 'Cats called to say they had released him but were going to bring him back after camp.
"So, I went back after training camp and signed to the practice roster," he explained. "I was scheduled to go into my option year, making a base of $65,000. Once I signed to the practice squad and proved to them that my Achilles was OK, they wanted me to start a couple of days after practicing. They rushed the (playing) contract and my base was $41,000.
"(They said) I was an injury risk. I could understand injury risk but, at the same time, I'll be 29 years old on August 1st and I still have to make a living. I felt like I proved myself and if I came back from my injury, the way it was told to me was that I would be making at least the same that I was making -- not that I was making a lot in the first place."
And the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Illinois State product had no desire to start at the lower rung of the salary scale again.
"I felt like, this being my fifth year in the CFL, I just couldn't do it so, I was willing to walk away, no hard feelings," Young said. "Fortunately, my agent put a call in to see if someone could use some help and luckily, I landed here."
But Desjardins was obviously perturbed that Young would leave the Tiger-Cats in the lurch on the eve of the Montreal match.
"I didn't try to hurt the team at all, I was just looking out for my best interests as a player," Young protested.
A former West Division all-star while with the B.C. Lions in 2004, Young recorded 26 defensive tackles and two interceptions in 10 games with Hamilton before suffering the torn tendon last season.
Although speculation is that Young will get at least $55,000 from Winnipeg, Bomber GM Brendan Taman could not be reached for comment.
"I've been impressed with him as a defensive back and when he became available, for whatever reasons, we were able to talk to his agent and convince him to get over here," said Bombers head coach Doug Berry.
There is a good chance Young will suit up in Montreal on Thursday.
Young, meanwhile, re-joins his old college roommate, quarterback Kevin Glenn, here.
"I played with him in college and we've been friends ever since then," Glenn said. "He was in my wedding party ... It's a great addition to the team."