Newspaper article The Canadian Press

CFLPA Investigating Whether Players Had Firm Agreements from Teams

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

CFLPA Investigating Whether Players Had Firm Agreements from Teams

Article excerpt

CFLPA to investigate matter of player deals


TORONTO - The CFL Players' Association is investigating whether players had firm agreements from member clubs to release them from their CFL contracts so they could pursue opportunities south of the border.

Last month, both running back James Wilder Jr. and defensive lineman Victor Butler expressed frustration when the Toronto Argonauts refused to let them out of the CFL deals so they could pursue NFL opportunities. Both players signed two-year deals with the Double Blue prior to the 2017 season.

Butler said he signed a one-year deal, plus a team option, with Toronto last February. But he added it was with the understanding following the '17 season he'd be allowed to pursue NFL opportunities.

If unsuccessful, then Butler, a seven-year NFL veteran, would return to the Grey Cup-champion Argos.

"We are investigating the circumstances as well as the discussions referenced by the players as they relate to their contracts or any other agreements that may have been in place," Brian Ramsay, the CFLPA executive director, said in a statement. "Once we are satisfied with the results of the investigation, we will meet with the commissioner and league office to discuss next steps."

Essentially, the union feels if a team has agreed to release a player from his CFL contract so he could try out south of the border, the terms of that deal should be honoured.

On Jan. 31, linebackers Jeff Knox Jr. and Micah Awe were released by the Saskatchewan Roughriders and B.C. Lions, respectively, to pursue NFL opportunities. Knox Jr. had an expiring contract -- he was scheduled to become a free agent Tuesday -- but Awe, who signed with the New York Jets, still had a year remaining on his CFL contract.

Last week, commissioner Randy Ambrosie reiterated the CFL's stance that players are "required to honour their contracts as they are registered with the league. …

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