|Photo courtesy @ticats|
Chick met with reporters at Tim Hortons Field on Thursday, a day after agreeing to a two-year deal with Hamilton and two weeks after the all-star defensive end was surprisingly released by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
In Chick, Hamilton gets a premiere pass rusher who had 11 sacks last year after registering a league-high 15 sacks in 2014. But defensive co-ordinator Orlondo Steinauer also likes to sometimes drop defensive linemen into pass coverage, a challenge the six-foot-four, 250-pound Chick readily welcomes.
"I believe there's a number of different sides to the defensive side of the ball that I bring,'' he said. "I still believe I am going this way (up) I wouldn't still be playing if I didn't believe that.
"I've got some good hands. I'd love to catch one and run it into the end zone.''
Chick, 33, a two-time Grey Cup champion with Saskatchewan, is excited to be reunited with Hamilton coach/GM Kent Austin. Chick joined the Riders in '07 under first-year head coach Austin and the squad went on to capture the CFL championship that year.
Chick spent six seasons with Saskatchewan and in 2009 was the CFL's top player. He was also a league all-star in 2014 and a fan favourite in Regina for his tenacious play on the field and the many hours he spent in the community.
Chick also played 19 career NFL games with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2011-12) and also spent time with the Indianapolis Colts in 2010.
But both he and veteran slotback Weston Dressler, another fan favourite, were released by new Riders head coach/GM Chris Jones. In a release, Jones said the move came after unsuccessful attempts to renegotiate the players' contracts.
Chick had a reported salary of $260,000 while Dressler was slated to earn about $240,000. However, Chick said there was very little negotiation involved.
"There was, more or less, take it or leave it and that's how it was presented to us,'' Chick said. "That's OK ... we understand the business side of things.
"Being cut is never something to look forward to but that is what was dealt.''
Dressler also landed on his feet, signing a two-year deal this week with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Riders fans flocked to social media to express their disappointment over the release of Dressler and Chick. Conversely some Ticats' players - notably linebacker Simoni Lawrence - also reached out to Chick on Twitter.
"It was very heart-warming not only to me but my wife and family,'' Chick said.
The Wyoming native said he considered other CFL options but his familiarity with Austin figured heavily in his decision to sign with Hamilton.
"From all standpoints it is a perfect fit for my family and I,'' he said. "We got to win a Grey Cup championship under him before and looking forward to making another run at it.''
Austin, who has led Hamilton to Grey Cup appearances in two of the last three seasons, acted quickly after learning Chick had been released.
"When it came across the transactions that he got released, I think it was about five minutes later I picked up the phone and called him,'' Austin said. "I've got a great deal of respect for him as a player, as a person.
"He embodies all the qualities and character traits we believe in here and he's a great player. Then it was the normal process. He was going to look at all of his options, which he should. I just tried to recruit him as best I could ... thank goodness he thought this was the best place for him.''
Chick admits he's still disappointed about being released by Saskatchewan. But he also understands he's probably in a better situation in Hamilton than he'd be in Regina with a team coming off a league-worst 3-15 record.
"We were living there (Regina) and had certain plans but hey, plans change and you roll with the punches,'' he said. "I don't necessarily agree with how it went down but we've been in football long enough to know you don't always count on things working the way you see fit.
"Once you get past that emotion, yeah, as far as football and looking at exactly where you're headed, those kinds of things, this is a great place to be.''