Jesse Lumsden has two options. Play for the Ticats or sit on the sidelines this fall.
It may sound like an ultimatum to the record-breaking McMaster running back -- play on our terms this year and next -- but Ticat general manager Marcel Desjardins says he simply needs some certainty in rebuilding the woeful team.
Lumsden saw his hopes of making a National Football League team wither when he was recently released by the Washington Redskins. No one else has called him and a 10-day window of opportunity to sign in the NFL has closed.
Desjardins wants him available next season as well as the rest of this one. That differs from his contract when he signed for one season with an option in the second that would allow him to try for the NFL again.
He was unsuccessful in making the Seattle Seahawks in 2005 and joined the Tiger-Cats in September, racking up 370 rushing yards and 153 yards in receptions over five starts.
Desjardins said the ball is in Lumsden's court.
"We're pretty much waiting for them to decide what they want to do. They really have two options, sitting out or coming back and playing here this year. And if they want to play here we need a contract in place for next year."
That means 2008 would be Lumsden's next opportunity to try for the NFL.
"We hope to talk to them (Lumsden's representatives) today and see where that leads," Desjardins said during the Ticats practice yesterday. "Obviously we want to get him here as soon as possible."
Lumsden is seen as a key building block, hence the two-season commitment.
"We need some certainty in terms of who we're going to have where," said Desjardins. "Committing to us would certainly go a long way to helping us figure things out."
Meantime, Lumsden's father Neil didn't believe signing to play next season was a stumbling block.
Though he stressed he is not part of the negotiation process, he said as a father he just wants to make sure his son is looked after.