From CFL non-import to NFL?

Andy Fantuz's recent failed attempt to crack an NFL roster has me wondering, how many non-imports have come to the CFL and later ended up playing for an NFL team?


No idea.

One explanation: The NIs good enough to play in the NFL make a darn good living in the CFL and are pretty much guaranteed a career as long as they can play. Why risk that for a shot on the PR with an NFL team?

Mike Vanderjagt and Tom Nutten is all I can think of although Tom was born in Germany.

hm, interesting question. Jon Ryan, the punter, would be the one that comes to mind. I believe he played CIS or junior football here, played with the Bombers a couple seasons, then off to the Packers and now the Seahawks. There are obviously some Canadians that went to the NFL that didn't play in the CFL first. Guys that fit in that category which have played NFL games include Vaughn Martin in San Diego, Israel Idonije with Chicago, OJ Atogewe with the Redskins, Cory Greenwood with KC, Dan Federkeil who played with Indy. You've got guys who've gone straight to the NFL and sat on PRs like Giguere and Corey Mace.

A number of kickers from 70s & 80s did this with limited success

Zenon Andrusyshyn
Tor - CFL 1971-1977
KC - NFL 1978-1978
Ham - CFL 1979-1979
Tor - CFL 1980-1982
Edm - CFL 1982-1982
TB - USFL 1983-1985
Mtl - CFL 1986-1986

Hank Ilesic
Edm - CFL 1977-1982
Tor - CFL 1983-1989
SD - NFL 1989-1989
Tor - CFL 1990-1993
Ham - CFL 1995-1995
BC - CFL 1998-1998
Edm - CFL 2001-2001

Ian Sunter
Ham - CFL 1972-1975
Det - NFL 1976-1976
Tor - CFL 1978-1979
Cin - NFL 1980-1980

Ken Clark
Por - WFL 1974-1974
Ham - CFL 1975-1978
Tor - CFL 1978-1978
LAR - NFL 1979-1979
Ssk - CFL 1980-1983
Ott - CFL 1983-1987

Dean Dorsey
Tor - CFL 1982-1982
Ott - CFL 1984-1987
GB - NFL 1988-1988
Phi - NFL 1988-1988

Ott - CFL 1989-1990
Edm - CFL 1991-1991

Others notables who tried and failed include: Sean Fleming (twice), Toyn Martino, Lui Passaglia

You're forgetting quite possibly the greatest Canadian player of all time to play in the NFL. He was the first Canadian QB to start for an NFL team. He was also a Superbowl MVP. He is one of only five players to throw for over 300 yards in his first NFL game. He never played in the CFL.

See if you can name him before clicking on the link.

I thought of him when his cousin died.

I thought and thought but failed to come up with the answer. I remember Mark (now that I know the answer) thinking back about it, thus had a good career with the Redskins. Thanks rpaege for this.

Did he ever play any football in Canada?

Spokane Wash. U.S.A.; From what I get of of this his parents moved there when Mark was at a young age.

I'm guessing he may have been recruited by the high school because of his size. Either that or his parents and others recognized his talent and made the decision to school him in Washington. Turned out great for him!

So the Canadian football system probably had nothing to do with his success? Bummer.

Well, this gives me an idea for another thread that I just started.