- Quarterback - 2003-05, 09-10 - Texas Christian
The Rise and Fall of Casey Printers -
Bleacherreport - TOsports.ca- 07-03-2009
recent news that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats had released Casey Printers
came as a surprise. When the worst team in the CFL can voluntarily cut
ties with a player considered one of the most talented quarterbacks in
the game, something’s not right.
Here’s a player who inspires extreme reactions in fans who either love
him or hate him. The question is ‘How did it come to this?’ The answer
reveals a tumultuous career with several ups and downs.
Born in Texas, Printers played the majority of his college years at
Texas Christian University (TCU) between 1999 and 2001, quarterbacking
the team to three straight Bowl games.
This included two appearances in the Mobile Alabama Bowl, highlighted
by capturing the Most Valuable Player award in TCU’s 1999 victory.
However, after three successful seasons with the Horned Frogs,
Printers asked to be transferred to Florida A&M after a disagreement
with TCU head coach Gary Petterson over how the teams offence was run. The first hint of the
perception that he was selfish had reared its ugly head.
The Texas native wanted Patterson to throw the football more, so he
could showcase his talents for the pro scouts. Given that TCU had
enjoyed a successful period with the system in place, and a certain
LaDainian Tomlinson was running the ball, this was never going to
In Florida, Printers went 7-5 as the move backfired. Only 1,517
passing yards and 12 Touchdown throws resulted in him going un-drafted
in the 2002 NFL draft.
After this setback, the B.C. Lions came calling in 2003, offering a
three-year contract to be their third-string quarterback. To begin
with Printers saw little playing time. However, his fortunes changed
in 2004, winning the backup role and then becoming the starter after
David Dickenson was injured.
This led to a breakout season, displaying his talents for everyone to
see. During the 2004 season, Printers passed for over 5,000 yards,
adding nearly 500 rushing yards and accounting for 44 touchdowns.
The end result was the CFL Most Outstanding Player of the year award.
Entering the playoffs, Printers was confident of capping an impressive
season by winning the Grey Cup. Fate had other ideas. He sustained a
shoulder injury in the fourth quarter of the West Division final and
Dickenson came into the game to lead the Lions to an overtime victory.
Entering the Grey Cup, Lions head coach Wally Buono made the
controversial decision to start Dickenson. On the biggest stage in
Printers career so far, he didn’t even get onto the field as the Lions
lost 27-19 to the Toronto Argonauts.
The quarterback believed that B.C. would have won the game if he’d
started. A lot of people saw this as further evidence of his
‘me-first’ attitude. However, you could argue that he had a valid
point given his production during the season.
Buono and a lot of Printer’s Team Mates did not see it like this,
viewing his reaction to not starting in the Grey Cup as proof that he
was bad for team chemistry.
However, the Lions were still prepared to offer a three-year $1
million contract extension prior to the 2005 season, which Printers
declined. This proved to be a pre-cursor for his season, becoming
embroiled in a quarterback controversy with Dickenson and hindered by
ongoing injury problems.
In 2006, the Lions made another three-year contract extension offer,
this time for $1.2 million, which was also turned down due to interest
from the Kansas City Chiefs. Unfairly a lot of people viewed this as
looking out for number one.
However, numerous professional athletes would and indeed have made the
same decision when faced with a similar choice. Playing in the NFL had
always been Printer’s dream.
The Chiefs signed him to a three-year $1.03 million contract.
Unfortunately, the quarterback struggled during the preseason. This
resulted in a roller coaster 2006 season as he was cut, re-signed to
the practice squad and promoted to the Chiefs 53 man roster.
After being demoted back to the practice squad, Printers returned to
Vancouver to attend the Lions West Division Final playoff game.
Interestingly though, he was barred from the sidelines by Buono.
Furthermore the B.C players reportedly threatened to throw him out if
he attempted to enter the locker room, yet another indictment against
At the end of 2006, the Chiefs signed Printers to a further three-year
contract and promoted him to the active roster. Again he was released,
prior to the start of the 2007 NFL season, apparently surprised by the
decision as he felt he’d done everything asked of him.
Next it was back to the CFL, as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats signed him for
$500,000 a season, making Printers the highest paid player in Canadian
This proved to be a complete disaster. In one and a half seasons, he
had numerous injuries. Even when Printers actually played, his form
was erratic, resulting in completing only 53 percent of his passes,
with a 6-14 touchdown-interception ration.
With hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised by the Tiger-Cats
decision to release the inconsistent quarterback.
Casey Printers returned to the CFL
and the B.C. Lions in 2009. Biding his time and proving himself to be
a good teammate he spent time backing up Jarious Jackson before
assuming the starting duties down the stretch. He displayed flashes of
his former brilliance with the Lions with some thrilling come from
behind victories. He led the Lions to an upset victory over his former
team the Hamilton Tiger Cats in the Eastern Semi-Final as a cross-over
team. Printers clinched the game with a rushing touchdown in overtime.
The Lions would then go on to be handily defeated by the Alouettes in
the East Final.
Printers returned as the starter in
2010 and the team struggled. After visibly showing disgust for his
receivers dropping passes the Lions made the decision to release
Printers and hand the starting reigns over to Travis Lulay. This
decision would bring an end to the tumultuous CFL career of Casey
Printers. A terrific talent he struggled to put the total package
together as a team player and consistent performer.