Golden Bear signs with Saints

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

For just the second time in the history of the University of Alberta football program, an NFL team has signed a Golden Bear.

Pat MacDonald has inked a three-year-deal with the New Orleans Saints with the hopes of becoming the club's long snapper this summer.

"It feels pretty unbelievable," said the 25-year-old Toronto native. "They decided to take a chance on a Canadian kid. They haven't really seen me in person."

But the Saints saw enough on videotape and heard enough in a phone interview yesterday morning to take the risk.

The free-agent contract calls for a $285,000 US salary this year, $370,000 US next year and an undisclosed amount in the final year.

Of course, it is dependent on MacDonald making the club. He will be at a rookie camp in just two weeks.

"We knew he was a good long snapper, but we didn't know how good," said Bears head coach Jerry Friesen.

"It's great for the program. It's outstanding."

It has been 31 years since a Bear has left for an NFL team. The Washington Redskins drafted Brian Fryer in 1976. He played four games that year and spent the following year on the practice roster before coming to the Edmonton Eskimos.

For MacDonald, there were actually four NFL teams quietly interested. The Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants and Jacksonville were also intrigued with the U of A product.

It turns out the toughest part of the whole experience for MacDonald was finding a fax machine to send his contract back to the Saints yesterday.

"They faxed me over the contract and I couldn't find a fax machine," said MacDonald.

"I ended up having to go to Joey Tomatoes to meet some friends and I got the contract in my hands and I signed it and I faxed it back to my agent, who has faxed it over to New Orleans.

"I was looking all over the city for a fax machine."


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