[audio:http://www.torontoobserver.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/rod_foley_podcast.mp3|titles=rod_foley_podcast]Ricky Foley’s athleticism extends well beyond the football field.
His ability to do 180-degree flips is almost something out of a circus act, but it has nothing to do with his on-field abilities.
The pride of the B.C. Lions, no, wait, Toronto Argonauts, epitomizes what many athletes of today have put their respective franchises through: an indecisive roller coaster ride.
After being named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian in 2009, the 29-year-old left the Lions to sign with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. When he was cut, the reigning CFL sacks leader decided on returning to the West Coast where he won a Grey Cup in 2006.
Then, familial pressures arose as the native of Courtice, Ont. decided to sway in the direction of the Argonauts.
“Three times [Foley] changed his mind,” Lions’ general manager and head coach Wally Buono told the Vancouver Sun. “[Monday] he was fine, then that night he wasn’t. [Tuesday morning] he was, then he wasn’t. Then he was, then he wasn’t.”
While the 250-pound rush end had verbally committed to a contract with B.C., the allure of the Argos proved to be too much and he signed on the dotted line with the double blue.
The CFL is no stranger to changes of heart, though.
Standing 6-foot-5, and weighing in at 290 pounds, Joe McGrath conjures up images of a typical, large offensive lineman.
The Saskatchewan native spent his first five seasons calling Edmonton home while playing for the Eskimos. As a free agent in 2009, he signed with the Roughriders.
Some may argue that once a player commits to a team, he or she should honour that commitment. McGrath, like Foley, reversed his decision and asked for a trade back to Edmonton, getting his wish on June 10, 2009.
“It was for football and for personal reasons,” McGrath told the Leader-Post, at the time. “It was just one of those things that happen. Both teams handled it with class.”
Whatever the personal reasons may be, athletes nowadays have become accustomed to irresolution, almost akin to split personalities. It’s as if one side of them wants to play for team A, while the other team B.
Sometimes, these soap opera situations entail more than just one flip-flop.
Take Hedo Turkoglu’s much-publicized choice to shun a contract with the Portland Trail Blazers and join the Toronto Raptors via a sign-and-trade with the Orlando Magic.
While he was well-known for his last-minute heroics playing for the Magic, the 31-year-old made a buzzer-beating decision to join the Raptors after he had reportedly agreed to a five-year contract with the Blazers worth an estimated $50-million US, according to Bruce Arthur of the National Post.
Multiculturalism is an integral component in the identity of Toronto, and the Turkish forward seemed to embrace this as part of his reasoning to join the Canadian franchise.
However, after one season in the Raptors’ uniform, he decided that he was not enthused by the situation he once thought he would espouse.
“When the circumstances turned against me, I lost my enthusiasm for this city…”, Turkoglu told a Turkish television station. “Honestly, I do not want to go back to Toronto.”
Whether it is a change of heart, homesickness, or familial reasons, more and more athletes have become used to the free agent limbo, and it may be a continuing trend.