Mathieu Girard’s surprise return a big boost for Ticats offensive line

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have made a substantial and rather unexpected addition to their offensive line.

The team announced Monday that Mathieu Girard is coming out of retirement to rejoin the club, potentially giving them some much-needed depth up front after trading away veteran Ryan Bomben earlier this month.

Originally a sixth-round draft pick in 2014 out of the University of Montreal, Girard has developed into a versatile player after converting from defensive line. He played in all 18 games his rookie season in 2015 as back up offensive lineman and long snapper, then made six starts at centre in 2016 in place of the injured Mike Filer. He also served as the long-snapper on firld goal attempts.

Girard was being touted as a potential starter heading into last season when he unexpected retired in April after landing a full-time job in information technology with KPMG, an international professional services company. At the time, he cited employment opportunities, a desire to live in Montreal and concerns over his health as factors in his decision.

While it may take Girard some time to get back into playing shape, he could potentially compete for the starting right guard spot which became available after the club dealt Bomben to the Montreal Alouettes in exchange for a package that included the first overall pick in the 2018 CFL Draft. The Ticats used that pick to select Central Michigan Univesity receiver, Mark Chapman.

At the very least, Girard is a useful player who can play multiple spots. By inking him to a three-year deal, Hamilton has suddenly added one of the most coveted assets in the CFL: a young, talented Canadian offensive lineman.

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
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Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1358 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

31 Comments on Mathieu Girard’s surprise return a big boost for Ticats offensive line

  1. Wow! Very unexpected but a very welcome addition back – he was a surprise retirement last year and a surprise addition this year.

  2. Great to see that, wondering if ticats knew he would come back which made it easier to trade Bomben to get that first pick for a starting receiver and not loose much on the o-line. Could all these things have come together to work out better for the cats? We will see.

  3. Agree Mark. Maybe he decided that he wasn’t through with football after all or maybe the job wasn’t all he expected it to be. Regardless of the reason, I’m sure that the Ticats are more than happy to welcome him back on the OL.

    • Billinburlington // May 14, 2018 at 5:56 pm //

      Hopefully the folks at Keep Playing More Golf (KPMG) made an arrangement whereby he can play football and work for the firm in the off season. Just speculating but that would be a cool arrangement.

      • Cat Fan // May 15, 2018 at 11:22 am //

        KPMG wouldn’t be the first organisation to make such arrangements.

        Though I suspect they likely wanted to be sure he was a keeper before working out a flexible schedule.

  4. bigplay // May 14, 2018 at 3:37 pm //

    Makes the Bomben trade a lot better and easier to take especially if they are able to sign Chapman in time for the start of training camp.The return of Girard is yes a huge surprise and a awesome signing!

    • MJ Bandit // May 15, 2018 at 11:28 pm //

      Great to hear he’s back; but I doubt he is even close to winning a starting O-line job there – to replace Bomben; Girard is a former CIS D-lineman (like Okafor); Lots of TC competition is good, but if he can beat out much more experienced O-linemen like Schram, Rice or Ciraco = good job.

      • I think that depends mostly on his playing shape. He played well in spot duty his first season with the team fresh off the transition from DL to OL, then got quite a bit of playing time in his second (including the starts at centre) and looked very good doing it.

        IMO he was better than Rice. Whether that remains the case, we’ll see. His versatility as a long-snapper is valuable too.

  5. Glad to hear Girard is back in Black & Gold.

  6. Austin a “Cunsultant “ well hell I’ll come out of retirement!!!!

  7. Good news and great timing

  8. Great news to have Girard back… this move was probably in the works before the draft making the Bomben trade an easier pill to swallow…

    Building a CFL roster is low a chess match… there are many moves that we the fans don’t understand that apparently don’t make sense until the final chess move is revealed and the suddenly we the fans think it’s a good move…

    It was critical for Ticats to get the #1 draft pick and select Chapman… I have high hopes for him and hope (expect) he becomes the next Ben Cahoon…

    • When you say he could become the “next Ben Cahoon”, I assume you mean a receiver that was born and raised in the US an never set foot in Canada but was given a roster spot because they had a mother born in Canada?

  9. Damn autocorrect… like not low and then not the

  10. RalphInTheCreek // May 15, 2018 at 9:20 am //

    What great news to get this hard nose lad back on the team.

  11. @Joe… matters not to me how a player gets the all important NI designation… we don’t make the rules we just abide by them… and I’m sure, as a CFL fan you will recall that Ben Cahoon was a perennial 1,000 yard receiver who played some of his best games in Ivor Wynne Stadium…

    Just looking forward to seeing what Chapman can do…

    • There is only ONE Canadian receiver right now that is putting up 1,000 yards year after year and that is Sinopoli -91 catches and he missed the last 3 games and the playoff game with an injury.
      The next closest Canadian receiver is Feoli-Guidino 45 receptions, who is now in Ottawa.

      I don’t know what’s happened to the Canadian receiver position but there are very few Canadian receivers catching passes.
      I will be surprised if Chapman can come out and be a starter. The CFL does need more Canadian receivers, they have disappeared.

      The Ticats had Aprile with 3 catches over the last FOUR seasons. Faubert-Lussier had 3 catches last year.
      Chambers was the big Ticat receiver with 32 catches last season between the Esks and Ticats.
      The Argos had Ralph with 26 receptions, Malcolm Williams with 14, there other Canadians zero catches.
      The Als have got Demski who had 19 receptions and Johnson who had 13
      The Riders had Bagg with 35 receptions and Jake Harty in from Ottawa that had 27 receptions.
      The Esks currently have – ZERO receptions by Canadians on their roster!!
      The Stamps had Anthony Parker with 36 receptions and Julian Lynch 2 receptions last year.
      The BC Lions had Shaq Johnson – 30 receptions,
      Cory Watson with 27, Danny Vandervoot 1 reception.

      • You are right, I just went through the rosters team by team and Canadian receivers are invisible.
        Chambers had 32 receptions mainly with the Esks but they don’t have any Canadian receivers with a receptions last year and the Ticats had one other guy with more than one catch and that was Faubert with THREE!!

        Ottawa has the two top Canadian receivers in the league and do doubt they will start both of them.

        There was high hopes for Vandervoort last year and Behar both top CIS receivers but only 1 catch between them. Maybe they will emerge this year, I expect Chapman will be the same, he will play sparingly and not a starter in his first year.

        • Cat Fan // May 16, 2018 at 6:37 pm //

          Are you guys using faulty stats web sites?
          Or are you afraid of letting the stats get in the way of your POV?

          Chambers had most of hie receptions with the Esks?
          Better correct the CFL as they say four were with the Esks and twenty eight were with the Cats.

          The Cats had Chambers and Faubert as the only over one catch Canadian receivers?

          LoL … better put the CFL stats section on speed dial as they say Jones had twenty eight, Aprile and Faubert-Lussier had three catches each. By my count – instead of two that is four “over one catch” Canadian receivers.

          There may have been high hopes for Behar … but is it really surprising with Zylstra having already proven himself, Bowman, Hazelton and a possible return of Walker (which happened) as receivers that there might not be room for another one?

          It is not really surprising Behar has no catches when the CFL says nothing was thrown his way. There are ST tackles and a fumble recovery so it may be that he wasn’t on the field at the same time as his QB.

          Vandervoort had all of four passes thrown his way, with two games played.

          BC is listed as only having Johnson at thirty receptions, which would surprise Iannuzzi that his thirty four receptions didn’t happen. With guys like Burnham (4th), Arceneaux (7th) and FA prize Williams – was there all that much room to get playing time?

          Time will tell if Chapman makes the team and what role(s) happen during the season.

  12. who cares

  13. Nothing to see here..lol hard at the worst CFL team

  14. So which conference won the last two Grey Cups… too bad the Stumps choke so much… LMFAO.

  15. hey knock it off Yup you dont have to be the first one to agree with me all the time give someone else a turn

    im Mr Red after all

    • why are you getting so upset red rem when i told Doug Flutie he ruled and he gave me a thumbs up? ill bet you enjoyed that moment as much as i and doug did.

      my father always told me to earn respect in this world is by telling your heroes they rule…he told fritz hanson and wayne harris and they acknowledged him and so i told Danny McManus and Allen Pitts and ill have their respect always

      do i have yours Red, cus i truly believe you rule

  16. dude doug flutie was embarrassed

    you called him a Gnome first i dont think he respected you lol

    you also really dont need that much alcohol at the game as you dont really rem the game or act appropriately laughing loudly and agreeing with whatever i say or do

    my respect has to be earned

  17. so mr Red and yup are the same person haha? makes sense

  18. anglo Moscow // May 16, 2018 at 3:02 pm //

    Yup

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