VANCOUVER -- The B.C. Lions gave Travis Lulay's career a lifeline in 2009, taking a chance on a quarterback who had bounced around the NFL when it seemed few other teams were interested.
Now a star in the CFL, Lulay rewarded the Lions for their loyalty on Thursday by signing a new three-year contract with the club.
"I was on my last legs as a pro, and if I didn't make the team in that training camp in '09, I probably would have been done at that point in time," Lulay said. "To have been given the opportunity at that point in time, I'm forever grateful to Wally (Buono, the team's general manager and former coach) for just getting me on the field.
"I believed that I could play as long as someone would agree with me."
The deal, announced at a morning news conference at a downtown Vancouver hotel, helps avoid a potentially difficult situation as the Lions start to gear up for the 2013 season. As a rule, Buono does not let players in key positions play out the option year of their contracts.
Lulay risked being traded if he chose not to sign. But he said it was easy to agree to the new contract, which includes two years plus an option.
The 29-year-old Oregon native put a long-term deal on hold last year in case he wanted to pursue NFL options. Financial terms of Lulay's contract were not disclosed, but Buono said Lulay's deal will not prevent him from signing other key players.
Still, backup quarterback Mike Reilly, who has played out his option, appears unlikely to re-sign. Reilly has made it known he wants to be a CFL starter, and Buono expects him to pursue free agent options.
Reilly is expected to receive strong interest from other clubs.
"I knew that if (the club re-signed Lulay), then (Reilly) would probably have a harder look at free agency," said Buono. "For Mike's sake, if I was his agent, I would probably recommend that.
"If you're honest, Mike wants to be in a position where he's going to be given a chance to start."
-- The Canadian Press