Chris Williams is getting his NFL shot.
Dan Vertlieb, Williams’ Vancouver-based agent, told The Canadian Press on Thursday the former Hamilton Tiger-Cats star has signed with the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.
The move comes a day after Williams and the Ticats reached an agreement to allow CFL’s top special-teams player last year to pursue opportunities south of the border.
Williams, 25, went to arbitration before the 2013 CFL campaign to be released from the final year of his deal with Hamilton to pursue NFL offers. In June, arbitrator E.E. Palmer ruled the Ticats violated the CFL’s collective bargaining agreement with the CFL Players’ Association by negotiating with an unregistered agent.
However, Palmer said the penalty for that was a fine, not the termination of the contract, and that the Ticats weren’t fined because the CFLPA didn’t ask that one be imposed.
Palmer also found Hamilton had picked up the option on Williams’s contract last October in accordance to the CBA but didn’t use the exact language surrounding the renewal as laid out in the agreement.
But Palmer also ruled that wasn’t enough to nullify the agreement.
Despite the arbitrator’s decision, Williams chose not to report to the Ticats, who responded by suspending him.
In late August, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued a ruling that quashed the arbitrator’s original judgement while ordering the Ticats to pay court costs of $8,500.
That prompted the CFLPA to declare Williams was a free agent but both the CFL and Ticats disagreed, saying they planned to appeal the Ontario Superior Court ruling.
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