December 9, 2016

Bighill Granted Release To Pursue NFL; signed by Lions through ’18

BC Lions linebacker Adam Bighill (44), middle, celebrates his interception during second half CFL action in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, August 13, 2016. (CFL PHOTO - Jimmy Jeong)

The BC Lions announced Friday that Adam Bighill has been granted his release from the club in order to pursue NFL opportunities. The transaction is the result of a clause in Bighill’s latest contract, which allows him to explore opportunities down south between now and January 27th, 2017. Should Bighill not catch on with a NFL club, he will remain with the Lions through 2018.

“When we did the extension last year one of the things Adam wanted to keep alive was a window to see what opportunities there would be in the NFL,” said GM/head coach Wally Buono. “When we negotiated the contract we thought it was good for him and good for us to get what we needed. The window starts now and he’s going to look at that.”

Bighill is coming off an outstanding season where he recorded 108 defensive tackles, good for second on the club behind Solomon Elimimian and third overall in the CFL. In addition, he was selected as both a CFL and Western Division All-Star. When you factor in all of those credentials, it no doubt makes sense for the 28-year old Central Washington product to kick some NFL tires.

“I am grateful for the club’s understanding that as a professional football player, father and husband, I want to maximize my career potential,” said Bighill. “I want to make it very clear to our incredible fans however, that I love being a BC Lion and if nothing comes to fruition in the NFL, I will be ecstatic to return to the club.”

Bighill and his wife Kristina are parents to one-year old son AJ and are expecting their second child in May.

This type of arrangement, although not uncommon, is not granted to every player. Buono agrees with the notion that a player of number 44’s stature deserves the chance to explore his options.

BC Lions linebacker Adam Bighill (44) tries to take down Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Andrew Harris (33) during the first half of CFL action in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, October 14, 2016. (CFL PHOTO - Jimmy Jeong)

“I can support this whole idea that players want to better what they’re doing, better their lifestyle. Adam has been a very good BC Lions and he wants to see if there is an opportunity out there. We’ve done it a number of times, you don’t do it necessarily with everybody but when you negotiate a contract you have to try to meet each other’s needs. It’s the right thing to do. You’ve got to help the players get the most out of football at a time they could do it.”

The Lions signed Bighill following his impressive performance at the club’s Portland free agent camp in May of 2011.

Matt Baker: