Esks' Messam still considering Miami NFL deal
Troubled running back emerged as a CFL force in 2011
Jerome Messam isn't a Miami Dolphin just yet.
Several published reports late Saturday said the Edmonton tailback signed a deal with the NFL team. One report included confirmation from Eskimos general manager Eric Tillman.
But a CFL source requesting anonymity said Sunday morning that Messam hadn't put pen to paper yet and that he and his camp were still going over the NFL deal.
The 26-year-old Messam remains under contract with Edmonton, but is entering his option year and has until Thursday to sign with an NFL club.
He's one of the few remaining CFL players with a window to sign NFL deals while in their option as he signed his present deal prior to the CFL's latest collective bargaining agreement in 2010. That deal called for the option window to be eliminated following February 2012.
Messam enjoyed a banner 2011 campaign with Edmonton, becoming the first Canadian since 2000 to crack the 1,000-yard rushing plateau. The six-foot-three, 245-pound Toronto native, who grew up in Brampton, Ont., ran for 1,057 yards and was named the CFL's outstanding Canadian as well as a league all-star.
Messam's season ended in the West Division semifinal when he suffered a torn meniscus in his knee that required surgery.
Edmonton acquired Messam from the B.C. Lions prior to the start of the 2011 season for a 2013 fifth-round selection.
Despite his immense talent, Messam wore out his welcome in Vancouver due to a series of transgressions that culminated in a suspension by the CFL team prior to being dealt to Edmonton.
In 2010, he broke former Lions' teammate Paris Jackson's jaw in a dressing-room fight and received a suspended sentence and fine for an altercation in a London, Ont., nightclub.
But Messam took full advantage of his second chance with Edmonton under first-year head coach Kavis Reed. If Messam signs with Miami, his departure means the Eskimos have to open the 2012 season with neither Messam nor quarterback Ricky Ray, who was dealt to the Toronto Argonauts earlier this off-season.
If Messam signs with Miami, the Eskimos would still have Hugh Charles and versatile Canadian Calvin McCarty to play tailback.
As well, there are such veterans as Avon Cobourne, Wes Cates and Joffrey Reynolds who were released earlier this off-season by their respective clubs and have yet to sign.