Lions ink McCallum to extension; sign K Ricky Schmitt
VANCOUVER — The BC Lions announced this morning that kicker Paul McCallum has signed a contract extension and free agent kicker Ricky Schmitt has agreed to terms on a contract with the team.
McCallum enters his 22nd CFL season in 2014, the last nine of which have been with the BC Lions. Last season, the Vancouver native was good on 85 per cent of his field goal attempts (28 of 33) and notched 137 total points.
“Paul has been an outstanding kicker throughout his long career,” said VP of football operations and GM Wally Buono. “His consistency as a field goal kicker is exceptional and with the addition of Ricky I’m pleased to know that this is where he will be focusing his efforts as we continue building a championship team.”
McCallum, a two-time CFL All-Star in 2010 and 2011 and the league’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player from 2011 is just one of five players to ever play in 20 or more seasons and is the only CFL kicker to record 10 or more consecutive seasons with a success rate of 80 per cent or better on field goals.
“I’m as excited as I have ever been about the game of football and being a member of the BC Lions,” said McCallum. “We have a very solid group of veteran leadership with a great blend of young talent on this team and I believe 2014 is going to be a very special year. Working with Ricky is also going to be very enjoyable, he’s one of our league’s best young kickers and we’ll be very effective together.”
Schmitt meanwhile comes to the Lions after a championship season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The Virginia Beach native ranked among the CFL’s top-three kickers in punting yardage, net punting yardage and kickoff yards in 2013.
“Ricky has one of the strongest legs in the league and he demonstrated that in some pretty tough conditions last season in Regina,” said head coach Mike Benevides. “With Paul looking after field goals and Ricky responsible for punting and kickoffs, I believe we have secured one of the best tandems in the CFL.”
Schmitt was originally signed as a free agent by the Riders in November 2012 and appeared in the Western Final that year. Last season, he dressed for all 18 regular season games as well as both West Division playoff games and the Grey Cup.
“I’m very pleased to be joining the Lions,” Schmitt said from his Virginia Beach home. “The opportunity to be a part of this organization and work with a kicker of Paul’s ability and experience was an opportunity that I could not pass up. I can’t wait to get started on working towards bringing a Grey Cup to BC.”