The Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced today that the team has signed the premier player in this year’s free agent class, Canadian receiver Andy Fantuz.
Fantuz’s new deal keeps him in Hamilton through the 2015 season.
Fantuz, a 6-4, 220-pound native of Chatham, Ontario, established himself as one of the league’s top receivers during his six seasons (2006-11) with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. In 77 regular season games, Fantuz has made 289 receptions for 4,311 yards and 23 touchdowns.
His best season came in 2010 when he was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian after catching 87 passes for 1,380 yards and six touchdowns. He was named a CFL and West Division All-Star and earned recognition as the CFL Canadian Player of the Month three times. Last year, Fantuz played in four games with the Riders after attending training camp with the NFL’s Chicago Bears.
“I'm coming home. After a very difficult deliberation process, the opportunity to play for my local team, in front of family and friends, was impossible to refuse. While Rider Pride will always be a part of me, it’s time to head to Tigertown. Hamilton has a great tradition of football excellence and I am thrilled be a part of a team that will immediately challenge for a Grey Cup. I look forward to getting to know my new teammates and representing the Tiger-Cats in Southwestern Ontario. Oskee-wee-wee!” said Fantuz.
“I want to thank the Riders organization, my teammates and, especially, the people of Saskatchewan. My experience there was unforgettable and I am so proud to have been able to represent the Rider fans. I wish you nothing but the best and hope that you will do the same for me in return,” Fantuz continued.
Fantuz helped the Roughriders reach three Grey Cup finals in the first five years of his career and was named Most Valuable Canadian in Saskatchewan’s 2007 championship win over Winnipeg after registering four receptions for 70 yards and one touchdown.
"The opportunity to acquire a talent like Andy Fantuz in the prime of his career doesn’t happen very often. It’s great news for our players and our fans in Tigertown and I know Coach Cortez is excited to get Andy on the field with our already talented group of players on offence," commented vice president of football operations Bob O’Billovich.
The 28-year-old was selected by the Riders with the third overall pick in the 2006 CFL Canadian Draft after a record-setting CIS career at Western.
During his four years with the Mustangs, Fantuz set new CIS and OUA marks for career receiving yards (4,123), single-season receiving yards (1300 in 2002), career receptions (189) and career touchdown receptions (41). He was the recipient of the Hec Crighton award as the top player in CIS football in 2005.