REGINA — John Chick's stellar season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2009 has earned him a lucrative contract from the NFL's Indianapolis Colts.
Gil Scott, Chick's Toronto-based agent, said Friday that the 27-year-old defensive end — the CFL's most outstanding defensive player in 2009 — has signed a three-year contract with the Colts via the CFL's option-year window.
The deal comes with a signing bonus which Scott believes — for CFL players signing with NFL teams — is second only to the $1 million US reportedly paid by the Miami Dolphins to former B.C. Lions defensive end Cameron Wake after the 2008 CFL season.
"(The Colts) made a very significant investment in John," said Scott, who declined to divulge dollar figures. "A lot of guys from Canada who go down there (to the NFL) get nothing to sign, (and do it) just to play in the NFL. This was very significant.
"In my last 20 years of doing this, it's probably the second-highest signing bonus for a player coming out of Canada."
Scott said Chick — who was out of town Friday and couldn't be reached for comment — worked out for the Jacksonville Jaguars on Tuesday and for the Colts on Thursday. The 6-foot-3, 250-pounder signed with Indianapolis later that day.
"It's not a pretend signing," Scott said. "The size of the bonus indicates they're pretty serious about him.
"They like him, they like his work ethic — they believe it's the same work ethic that they have — and they like his character. What can I say?"
Chick finished fourth in the CFL with 11 sacks in 2009, his third season in Saskatchewan and in the CFL. He added 32 defensive tackles, five tackles for a loss, five pass knockdowns and four forced fumbles en route to being named a West Division all-star and a CFL all-star.
"The most important thing that we saw is he plays every play 100 per cent," said Cal Murphy, a former CFL head coach now based in Regina who scouts for the Colts. "That's what we want from our players.
"He plays across the field, chasing plays, pursuing plays, never giving up on plays and making plays all over the field. As a person, he is top drawer."
Chick, a product of Gillette, Wyo., who attended Utah State University, is quiet and unassuming off the field. A Type 1 diabetic, he's also an ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Last season, Chick teamed with Stevie Baggs to give the Roughriders arguably the most dynamic pair of defensive ends in the league.
"Whoever's running the team here will have a pretty big hole to fill with John's absence," said a source within the organization, referring to the uncertainty created by the resignation of general manager Eric Tillman.
"(Chick) is one of the best players on the team, so he's not easy to replace. The organization will have to roll up its sleeves and try to go out and find a replacement."
Ironically, Baggs is to become a free agent on Feb. 15.
CFL players entering the option year of their contracts can sign with NFL teams until the end of February. This week alone, B.C. has lost fullback Rolly Lumbala and receiver Ryan Grice-Mullen to the Dolphins, and the Montreal Alouettes have lost punt returner Larry Taylor to the New York Jets.
That's a shame.. At least he is getting paid well for his abilities.