Ticats bring kicker Lirim Hajrullahu back

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have agreed to terms on a two-year contract with Canadian kicker and punter Lirim Hajrullahu.

Hajrullahu attended renowned kicking coach Gary Zauner’s NFL free agent specialist’s combine in March and performed well. That drew interest from NFL teams, but the CFL deal provides security for Hajrullahu who worked out for the Seattle Seahawks in January and can take another NFL shot when the window opens in December.

The Montreal Alouettes and B.C. Lions made substantial offers, however, Hamilton was able to bring Hajrullahu back to the Hammer. The Ticats paid him $145,000 on his one-year contract in last year, but the better statistical production and NFL interest surely to drove the price up.

The 28-year-old had a strong season for the Ticats in 2018 making over 85 per cent of his field goals (46-of-54) including a perfect seven-for-seven on three-pointers from 50 yards or longer. The Western University product connected on 41-of-46 converts. He also punted for a 45-yard average.

Hajrullahu produced better numbers last season than compared to 2017 with the Toronto Argonauts when Canuck kicked the Grey Cup-winning field goal to clinch the Argos 27-24 victory.

Through five CFL seasons, Hajrullahu has played 89 games making 192 of 232 field goal attempts (82.8 per cent), 155 of 160 converts (92 per cent) while punting 545 times for 24,137 yards (44.3 average).

Hajrullahu is the only Canadian in the league that handles all kicking duties for a franchise.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.