The CFL's reigning Most Outstanding Canadian is returning to the CFL, but not with the B.C. Lions.
Earlier in the day, the Lions announced that they had agreed to terms with Ricky Foley, but the talented pass rusher decided to sign with the Toronto Argonauts instead. He is expected to be on the field for practice on Wednesday.
"He's done an about face. We think the pressures from the family had a lot to do with it." Buono told TSN. "We're not going to stand in the way if this is what he wants and we'll move on."
While the Lions are disappointed by the turn of events, the Argonauts should have an improved pass rush as the push for the playoffs begins.
''Ricky established himself as a premiere pass rusher in this league as evidenced by his Outstanding Canadian Player Award last year," said Argonauts head coach Jim Barker. ''He is a young man from the Toronto-area that was a free agent. We went through our due diligence, made one offer and one offer only, which never changed. Ricky went through his process to decide what was right for him and his family and he chose to be a Toronto Argonaut. We are thrilled to have him as a member of our team.''
Last season, Foley earned a starting role after three seasons as a back-up. He recorded a league-leading 12 sacks as well as 51 defensive tackles, good enough to garner Outstanding Canadian honours.
Most recently, the Courtice, Ontario native attended training camp with the Seattle Seahawks and made a brief stop with the New York Jets before being released last week.
"This was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever made. The fans, players and coaches in B.C. have been nothing but great and supportive of me for my career there, but if I returned there, it would have been for selfish reasons," said Foley in a statement. "I have a unique opportunity to play in front of my family and friends and play for my hometown Argos, and at the end of the day, my family comes first, so I'm very excited to help bring Toronto a Grey Cup."
Foley was the Lions' second selection in the 2006 CFL Draft (1st round, 4th overall).
On Tuesday morning, Foley was a guest on TEAM 1040 Radio in Vancouver and sounded like he was looking forward to returning to the Lions.
"When I chose B.C., it was like that's the team that I've won a Cup with, winning Canadian Player of the Year, leading the league in sacks, with my boys out there and the staff," Foley told TEAM 1040 Radio. "It's where I know I've had success, and I love the city out there. They support the Lions so much out there."
But apparently Foley changed his mind during the day and Buono appeared on the same station to try to make sense of the news.
"I've been doing this now for a lot of years, and I don't know that I've ever gone through a situation where it's been back-and-forth as much as it is this time," Buono told the Vancouver radio station. "Whether you like it or not, you have to respect it. The emotions of leaving your family and playing somewhere else is always difficult."