Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Lions extend Lulay

MVP quarterback inked through 2013

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SURREY, B.C. -- Travis Lulay has put his NFL aspirations on hold for at least one more year.

The B.C. Lions rewarded Lulay, their No. 1 quarterback, on Tuesday for his outstanding 2011 CFL season by signing him to a new two-year contract. Lulay confirmed the deal includes one year plus an option.

"Even when I first came to this league, I never wanted to come here and think that I'd go somewhere else," said Lulay. "So I consider myself all-in here. That's really what this is about."

Lulay, a 28-year-old Salem, Ore., native was due to play out his option in 2012 and then could have become a free agent.

"It's securing next season and the near future," he said. "But if the NFL was really what I wanted to do, I would have just played out (the 2012) season and tried to see what would happen."

Lulay guided the Lions last year to an 11-7 record, a first-place finish in the West Division and a remarkable Grey Cup last November. The miraculous championship came after the Lions started the season 1-6.

He was named the CFL's outstanding player as well as the 2011 Grey Cup MVP.

With Lulay's signing, the Lions now have all of their offensive starters under contract for 2012.

Noting that most of the returners were also with the club last season when it lost its first five games, Lulay said he likes the Lions' chances of repeating as Grey Cup champions.

"To have all of your starters return after a championship season, that doesn't happen very often," said Lulay. "It's exciting."

Before signing with the Lions as a free agent in 2009, the Montana State grad had three unsuccessful tryouts with the Seattle Seahawks, another one with the New Orleans Saints and also played in the now-defunct NFL Europe with the Berlin Thunder.

In Lions general manager Wally Buono's view, Lulay took the team's interests into account by signing a new deal rather than by playing out his option.

"For a high-profile player, I really don't like the option year," said Buono.

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 11, 2012 D4

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