Fan­tuz will be back with the Tiger-Cats

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - DREW ED­WARDS The Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor ded­wards@thes­pec.com 905-526-2481 | @scratch­ing­post

Cana­dian re­ceiver Andy Fan­tuz has agreed to re­join the Hamil­ton Tiger-Cats as the co-or­di­na­tor of player devel­op­ment while he re­habs from a knee in­jury suf­fered late last sea­son.

The 33-year-old Fan­tuz set a ca­reer high in catches in 2016 and had al­ready eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in re­ceiv­ing when he tore his ACL on an in­no­cent look­ing play in an Oct. 28 game against the Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos. With a time­line for his re­turn un­cer­tain, the in­jury clearly im­pacted his mar­ket value when he be­came a free agent in Fe­bru­ary.

Head coach Kent Austin said dur­ing mini­camp in April that the team was close to re­sign­ing Fan­tuz.

Fan­tuz lives in Burling­ton and has roots in Chatham — he also at­tended West­ern Univer­sity in Lon­don — so re­main­ing in the area makes sense on a per­sonal level.

The vet­eran is also a favourite tar­get of quar­ter­back Zach Col­laros, who spoke highly of Fan­tuz back in April.

“I love the guy as a team­mate, as a friend. He’s just a great guy to have in the lock­er­room and the meet­ing room, and I think he’s in­valu­able to us,” Col­laros said. “He un­der­stands our of­fence in­side and out and he can teach it.

“He’s had so much suc­cess in this league, guys just kind of grav­i­tate to him.”

Sources say that Fan­tuz’s re­hab is go­ing well but the typ­i­cal re­cov­ery pe­riod for torn knee lig­a­ments is be­tween eight and 12 months, mean­ing he could be out un­til Labour Day.

CANA­DIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO

Fan favourite Andy Fan­tuz, 33, set a ca­reer high in catches in 2016.

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