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.