CFL pipeline to NFL continues with Adam Bighill’s 3-year deal with New Orleans Saints

Earlier this year, BC Lions linebacker Adam Bighill signed a three year contract with the New Orleans Saints which included a signing bonus. Bighill, a six year veteran of the Lions, was the latest big-name CFL player to use the league as a springboard to the NFL. Three more members of the 2016 BC Lions followed suit. And they all are following in the footsteps of a number of outstanding products of the CFL including Cam Wake who is now with the Miami Dolphins, and of course Doug Flutie whose dazzling eight-year CFL career took him back to the NFL in 1998.

The 28-year-old Bighill, a linebacker, is a four-time CFL All-Star and was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player in the league in 2015. Last year the Central Washington University product finished third in the CFL in defensive tackles.

Bighill has proven himself north of the border, including winning a Grey Cup in 2011, but it remains to be seen if his size will preclude him from having a successful NFL career. Officially listed at 5-foot-10 and 230 pounds, he is small for a linebacker by NFL standards.

But as Lions fans know, you can’t measure the heart of Bighill, who has demonstrated himself to be an extremely hard worker on and off the field since his debut in 2011.

Bighill had until January 27th to find an NFL team after the Lions granted him release to pursue his NFL dream.

“I am grateful for the club’s understanding that as a professional football player, father and husband, I want to maximize my career potential,” Bighill. “I want to make it very clear to our incredible fans however, that I love being a BC Lion and if nothing comes to fruition in the NFL, I will be ecstatic to return to the club.”

British Columbia Pipeline

Paying the price for CFL  excellence, B.C. has taken a body blow from the NFL.

Bighill is one of four free agents from the 2016 BC LionsAdam Bighill (New Orleans), Richie Leone (Arizona Cardinals), Alex Bazzie (Carolina Panthers) and Bo Lokombo (Baltimore Ravens) — who have signed with NFL teams.

On the bright side, head coach and general manager Wally Buono knows he must have a crack team of bird dogs. The NFL signings are validation that director of U.S. scouting Ryan Rigmaiden, player personnel director Neil McEvoy, personnel assistant Geroy Simon and their aides are scoring high in recruitment points.

Wally Buono: 

“It’s a positive that they’ve been able to bring in guys who are good enough to get looks from the NFL. There’s a negative to it, because now they’ve got to go out and replace them. There’s not much you can do when the NFL is interested in your players and wants to sign them. But I have confidence in Ryan, Neil and Geroy. They’ve done a good job. Now they need to bring in more good guys.”

As players throughout the world dream of making it, whether realistic or not, in the NFL, perhaps they should be taking a different route.

Through Canada!

Geroy Simon checks out the Lions draft board during the 2015 CFL Draft. Geroy Simon checks out the Lions draft board during the 2015 CFL Draft.

 

Sources: dailyhive.com, vancouversun.com

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