The Hamilton Tiger-Cats released four players on Saturday, including kicker Sergio Castillo in just the latest example of how terrible and unfair the business of football – and life in general – can be.
Castillo won the kicking job in Ticat training camp last spring after bouncing around the fringes of the CFL for three seasons. He made the most of it, hitting on 29 of 34 field goals (85.3 per cent) and going five-for-five from beyond the 50 yard line. His punting was very solid, too.
But Castillo tore his ACL last October in a 30-13 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, going down as he covered a missed field goal. The injury typically takes at least a year to recover from – it’s Castillo’s plant leg – and the Ticats signed Canadian Lirim Hajrullahu as a replacement in free agency. That made Castillo and Kenny Allen, the 23-year-old they signed to replace Castillo at the end of last year, expendable. Allen was released on Saturday as well.
Also released were Canadian linebacker Ben D’Aguilar, who the Ticats signed late last season to play special teams and American running back Rajon Neal. D’Aguilar is an interesting guy with a local connection given that he played at Mac.
The Ticats will be on the hook for Castillo’s rehab expenses but it’s clear they are moving on from him as a football player. Given how hard he worked to get there – his teammates really enjoyed “Serge” who is as laid back and normal as kickers come – it’s a shame that he now has to worry about finding a job on top of getting healthy.
Until he got injured, Castillo was one of the few feel-good stories in a lost season for the Ticats. His release was predictable, even expected after the team signed Hajrullahu. But it’s still sucks.