Mike Atkinson, a former Boise State defensive tackle, said Monday evening he has signed with the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
A 2012 all-Mountain West first-team selection despite missing the last four games after he tore his ACL on Nov. 3, the Windsor, Ontario native will continue his career about 200 miles from his hometown.
“It’s definitely a relief knowing I have somewhere to go, I’m really grateful,” said Atkinson, who added that he still has NFL hopes. “It’s just a little different path.”
Atkinson was taken by Hamilton with the 20th overall pick (third round) in the 2012 CFL draft. Atkinson will report to training camp Tuesday. He said he opted to sign now with Hamilton, where he can be paid and rehab his knee, instead of waiting to try out for an NFL team this summer, knowing there’s a chance his knee may not be 100 percent. Atkinson said his agent was hoping to put together a pro day sort of workout for him in July with interested NFL teams.
“If that didn’t work out, I would’ve had to sit out more than a year, so Hamilton will take me step by step through it, and hopefully I’m back on the field in a few months,” Atkinson said.
Before his injury, Atkinson had 37 tackles (3.5 for losses), two forced fumbles and a memorable interception return for a touchdown against BYU on Sept. 20 in a 7-6 Boise State win for the Broncos’ only points.