HAMILTON, Ont. — he Hamilton Tiger-Cats released veteran tailback Avon Cobourne on Wednesday.
The move wasn’t a surprise. On Monday, Hamilton signed free-agent running back Martell Mallett, who was the CFL’s top rookie in 2009 before signing with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.
“We spoke with Avon following the addition of Martell Mallett to our roster to determine what course of action he would prefer,” Bob O’Billovich, Hamilton’s vice-president of football operations, said in a statement. “After speaking with him again today, we are granting Avon’s request to be released.
“We would like to thank Avon for his outstanding contributions to our team last season and wish him all the best in the future.”
The Ticats also released defensive end Luc Mullinder and offensive lineman Simeon Rottier, who was scheduled to become a free agent Feb. 16.
“Over the last few months, we’ve presented multiple contract offers to Simeon and his representatives, including our most recent offer that would have made him one of the league’s highest paid linemen,” O’Billovich said. “After our latest offer was rejected, it was clear Simeon would not return to Hamilton in 2012.
“It’s time for us to focus on the players that want to be here. The Ticats appreciate everything that Simeon gave to the team during his three years with us.”
Cobourne was Hamilton’s prized free-agent acquisition last year, the hope being his fire and brash honesty would help lead the Ticats to the Grey Cup.
The five-foot-eight, 205-pound native of Camden, N.J., finished fourth among CFL rushers with 961 yards as the Ticats ended up third in the East Division standings with an 8-10 record.
Cobourne ran for 97 yards on 14 carries and had a key 44-yard TD run in leading Hamilton to a 52-44 overtime win over Montreal in the East Division final. Cobourne joined the Ticats after five seasons – and two Grey Cup titles – with the Alouettes.
But the Ticats’ season ended with a 19-3 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the conference final.
Mullinder joined the Ticats in August after being released by Montreal.
“When we signed Luc last August, we agreed that we would grant his release if we weren’t willing to sign him to a new deal early in the new year,” O’Billovich said. “We thank Luc for his hard work last season and wish him continued success.”