Wide receiver still hopes for NFL

Former Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Andy Fantuz. (QMI Agency file photo)

Former Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Andy Fantuz. (QMI Agency file photo)

Mark Malone, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 11:23 AM ET

Andy Fantuz isn't giving up his NFL dream after being cut by the Chicago Bears on Friday.

The wide receiver from Chatham hopes to hear from other teams before he has to return to the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“I'm on waivers for 24 hours and then after that I have a 10-day window to sign with another club before I have to report back to the CFL to Saskatchewan,” he said Friday night in a video on his website (andyfantuz.com). “That's my understanding of it anyways. I'll go from there.”

Fantuz, 27, signed a two-year, reserve-future contract with the Bears in February after starring for five seasons with the Roughriders.

He worked out for six NFL teams after the 2010 CFL season.

“I'm excited to see if any other team wants to take a chance and bring me in and see what I've got,” he said in his video. “But, either way, I'm ready to get rolling and get playing.”

He was chosen the CFL's most outstanding Canadian in 2010 after making a career-high 87 receptions for a league-best 1,380 yards and six touchdowns.

He was in the option year of his CFL contract, so he was allowed to sign with an NFL team until Feb. 15. If he didn't sign, then he would have gone back to the Roughriders.

The six-foot-four, 220-pound Fantuz said after signing that the Bears wanted him to fill their need for a big receiver.

However, the McGregor graduate was used sparingly in the pre-season. He made two catches for 19 yards in four exhibition games.

Fantuz was among 14 players waived by the Bears on Friday. Another 13 must be released by 5 p.m. Saturday to reach the NFL's 53-man roster limit.

“Can't say it was a huge surprise,” Fantuz said in his video. “It's been a frustrating pre-season.

“Haven't really got too much playing time in the games and limited reps in practice. It seemed like they (were) pretty committed with the guys they had and the guys they wanted to keep.

“That didn't include me, so unfortunately, whether it was bad timing or just a bad situation, whatever it is, it's nothing I could control. It's just unfortunate.”

Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant has mixed emotions about the possible return of the 2005 Hec Crighton Trophy winner.

“As a friend I'm disappointed,” Durant said to the Regina Leader-Post. “I know how much he really wanted that opportunity, so as a friend I feel really bad. For this team, we really need him. He's a big part of what we do. We'll see what happens.”

The Roughriders have a 1-7 record, worst in the CFL.

They went to three Grey Cups in four years (2007, '09 and '10) with Fantuz. He was the game's outstanding Canadian in 2007 when they won the trophy.

Fantuz has 276 catches for 4,136 yards and 23 touchdowns in 73 regular-season games.


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