The Chris Williams saga is over.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced Wednesday that Williams is free to sign with an NFL team but they’ll retain his CFL rights through the 2014 season.
The agreement ends a bitter dispute between the two sides that has seen one of the CFL’s top offensive stars sitting out the entire 2013 season rather than return to Hamilton.
Williams, the CFL’s top special-teams player last year, went to arbitration to released from the final year of his deal with Hamilton to reportedly pursue NFL offers.
On June 5, arbitrator E.E. Palmer ruled the Ticats violated the CFL’s collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union by negotiating with an unregistered agent.
However, Palmer said the penalty for that was a fine and not the termination of the contract.
Despite the arbitrator’s decision, Williams chose not to report to the Ticats.
The CFL Players’ Association applied for a judicial review of the arbitrator’s decision and in late August the Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued a ruling that quashed the arbitrator’s decision.
That prompted the CFL Players’ Association to say Williams was a free agent, but both the CFL and Ticats said they’d planned to appeal the ruling.