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Naylor: Fantuz to choose between Riders and Tiger-Cats

Dave Naylor
2/17/2012 12:06:51 AM
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Two days into CFL free agency and the most intriguing question among this year's crop of players was still unanswered on Thursday night: Where will receiver Andy Fantuz spend 2012 and beyond.

It is believed that Fantuz's choices have come down to returning to Saskatchewan, the team that drafted him and for whom he has played his entire six-year CFL career, and joining the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a team far closer to his home town of Chatham, Ont. and just down the road from where he went to school at the University of Western Ontario.

According to a source, by late Thursday, Fantuz was leaning towards joining the Tiger-Cats.

But as we've learned already during this year's free agency period, things can change quickly.

For instance, on Thursday morning, Fantuz's agent said his client was expected to make a decision by around noon Eastern time. However, by later in the day, it was learned Fantuz wanted more time to consider what has turned out to be a very, very difficult choice.

It's reasonable to assume the money offered by each side is comparable. The difference is in what kind of existence Fantuz will have over the next several years as a football player on and off the field.

In Saskatchewan, Fantuz is a provincial hero, his name and face recognized across the land, including on 24,000 cereal boxes of Fantuz Flakes that sold out in a matter of days two summers ago, and his jersey found on the backs of Rider fans everywhere.
 
In Hamilton, Fantuz will be a very popular football player but one whose stature will be limited to some degree by the CFL's modest profile in comparison to other professional sports in Southern Ontario.

He'll be close to family and friends, he'll be able to get a running start on his post-football life without having to relocate each off-season. But he'll never be the icon he was in Saskatchewan.

That's a difficult decision in any setting. But complicating matters this week is the fact that Fantuz is travelling in Africa and therefore not able to meet face-to-face with either Hamilton or Saskatchewan.

Meanwhile, many other CFL free agents are standing by in the wings, forced to wait until Fantuz picks a home before they can solicit offers from the Roughriders or Tiger-Cats.

There's a lot hanging on whenever Andy Fantuz makes up his mind.




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