Darren Flutie - Receiver - 1991-95 - Boston College
excerpt - Northern Exposure Darren Flutie makes name with CFL record Wayne Coffey – NY Daily News - October 27th 2002
Like virtually every American player in the CFL, Flutie headed north only after things in the NFL didn't work out. Signed as a free agent by the Chargers in May, 1988, he caught 18 passes for two TDs as a rookie, despite being voted by one media outlet as the player least likely to make the team. He was released the following September, caught on with the Cardinals in 1990, then released again a year later. He then teamed up with Doug with the British Columbia Lions, brother throwing to brother for the first time since Doug was a senior and Darren a freshman at BC.
Says Doug Flutie: "Darren deserved to be in the NFL. He got released because of his size. He has the best hands of anyone I've ever played with."
Once Flutie the Younger arrived in the CFL he never left. He hasn't gotten rich - his salary is reportedly $125,000 Canadian (roughly $84,000 U.S.) - but he has gotten something he never got in his own country: a steady opportunity to perform.
"It was a lot more fun (in Canada) right from the start," Flutie says. "It was just more relaxed. Your job wasn't on the line every day. In the NFL, every practice could make or break you. If you dropped one ball, you'd worry about getting cut."
Flutie's talent is much more an acquired appreciation than the sort to wow you from Sunday to Sunday. While he's hardly slow - he ran a 4.58 40 when he first got in the league - he doesn't bring Randy Moss to mind, either. He has simply perfected the art of getting open and hauling in footballs, including one in the end zone in the 1999 Grey Cup, his defender holding onto one arm, Flutie making a diving, one-handed grab with the other. It was the highlight of a six-catch, two-TD, 109-yard day for Flutie.
Almost as memorable was the TD catch he made in a snow squall on the final play of the Western Conference championship game in 1994, lifting the British Columbia Lions over Doug's Stampeders. Darren was supposed to run to the back of the end zone, but saw space just beyond the goal line and headed there, and McManus found him. "Everyone's talking about Doug and here comes his little brother to spoil the party," McManus says. The Lions went on to win the Grey Cup, capping a season in which Flutie had a career-high 111 catches, the unsavory aftertaste of his NFL time gradually dissipating.
"It gnawed at him in the beginning, I guarantee you that," Lancaster says.
"I finally became someone up here," Flutie says. "I kind of found my niche."
Darren actually began his football career continuing the Flutie quarterback tradition, before switching to running back in high school, and to receiver his freshman year of college. He helped Natick High go on a 38-game winning streak, and was a good enough middle infielder to be drafted by the Orioles.
He eschewed the immediate payday and became an Eagle, making All-ECAC, catching 134 passes, but still spending most of his time being called Doug, or compared with him. He insists it never fazed him.
"I know what the fan and media perception is, but it hasn't been difficult at all. If anything, it opened doors for me when I came up here. As long as I have the support and respect of my teammates, that's all I can ask for."
Nor does it faze Flutie that his achievements have scarcely been noticed in his own country, that he'd be Jerry Rice or Steve Largent if he'd set his record farther south.
"I think the Canadian Football League is a great league, but it's not the NFL, and I'm not Jerry Rice," Flutie says. "If I were, I'd still be down there. I feel fortunate that there was a place like the CFL where I could hone my skill and become a consistent football player and have a nice career."
Darren Flutie moved to the Edmonton Eskimos in 1996 along with Danny McManus and again in 1998 with McManus to Hamilton where he would spend the finaly 5 seasons of his career.
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