Spending your entire CFL career with one team, then suddenly being released, can be a shocking moment for some, but former Roughrider John Chick has landed on his feet quickly.
After absorbing the news that he will not be with the green and white next season, the 33-year-old Wyoming native weighed his options and signed a two-year contract with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats this week.
“It’s almost like being a rookie again, you know, and it’s not new to me and my family to go through this process and so you just accept what comes at you and you look forward to the new and it’s been good,” Chick explained to The Green Zone Thursday.
The Roughriders made the surprising move on Jan. 14, releasing Chick and eight year Rider veteran Weston Dressler. General manager and head coach, Chris Jones explained to the media that the team tried to keep both, but at the end of the day could not afford them the way their contracts were structured.
Chick said he was ready for the disappointing news.
“We hoped it wouldn’t come to that, we hoped the Roughriders would’ve done the honourable thing, but the fact they didn’t wasn’t the end-all to us.”
After Chick’s release, there were reports of various CFL teams interested in his services. The CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2009 decided to join the Tiger-Cats.
There is some familiarity for Chick, who will join Kent Austin for the first time in close to a decade. Chick and Austin were with the Riders’ Grey Cup winning team in 2007.
“Knowing who Kent Austin is and what he brings to the club, not even having been in a team meeting or that yet, I know what to expect,” said Chick.
Chick will help bolster an already talented bunch in Hamilton. Over the last few years, the team has made back-to-back Grey Cup appearances in 2013 and 2014 and dropped a 35-28 Eastern Final match up to the Ottawa RedBlacks in 2015.
The 2016 CFL regular season schedule has not been released yet, but there is no doubt Chick will have his first trip to Mosaic marked on his calendar.
“It’ll definitely be a different feeling being on the other side of the ball, but knowing the fans there it will just be an awesome experience and I will look forward to it when that time comes.”
Chick told The Green Zone he will continue to call Regina his home while playing football in Ontario.
During his time with the Roughriders, Chick collected 53 quarterback sacks and captured two Grey Cup titles (2007 and 2013).