HAMILTON — Heading into his second bout with free agency, Cary Koch thought he’d have a tough time deciding on where he’d start the next chapter of his career.
In the end, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats made an otherwise difficult decision rather easy.
“The coaches here, the team they already have built up, obviously going to the Grey Cup last year,” said Koch, who arrives in Hamilton after spending the last two seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos.
“I’m just trying to add into that, I’m just trying to be whoever I can be to fit in on this team and to help any way I can,” he added.
One season removed from making their first Grey Cup appearance since 1999, Kent Austin and the Ticats appear unreceptive to the idea of waiting another 14 years before making it to the big game once again.
Because of that, the Austin and his team have been extremely aggressive to this point of the off-season.
As of today, the Ticats found themselves a new starting quarterback in Zach Collaros, solidified their offensive line by signing Canadian Steve Myddelton, and vamped up their defence by bringing in utility man Craig Butler as well as defensive back Brandon Stewart.
Koch’s arrival in Steeltown gives the Ticats a formidable arsenal of weapons through the air. He’ll join the likes of Andy Fantuz, Bakari Grant, Greg Ellingson, Onrea Jones, Sam Giguere and Luke Tasker.
Throw in CJ Gable out of the backfield and Hamilton might just have the deepest crop of receivers in the league. Koch believes that his veteran know-how will able to compliment the already stacked group.
“I know there are a lot of vets on the team, but I think that I can help,” he said humbly.
“I can line up anywhere, and just really help the club any way they see fit. I’m just ready to work, I’m excited for this opportunity and I think it’s a good fit here.”
Koch first broke into the CFL with the Roughriders in 2010, hauling in 21 catches for 299 yards and three touchdowns.
Those numbers were good enough to land him at eighth on the Riders’ receiving yards list, 1,081 yards behind team leader Andy Fantuz, who enjoyed a career year with Saskatchewan that season.
Koch is excited at the prospect of working alongside Fantuz once again.
“I was a rookie coming in when I worked with Andy in Saskatchewan and learning from him as a rookie, I was really hanging on his coat tails, really listening to what he had to say,” said Koch.
“To team back up with him now, having years behind me, and many more years under his belt, I think it’s kind of the perfect storm now.”
Once the Ticats kickoff their 2014 campaign on June 29th in Saskatchewan, Koch will be aiming to start a new era in his career in the same stadium he started it.
Simply put, he couldn’t be more excited about it.
“I’m excited to be in Hamilton, I hear the fans in Tigertown are nuts,” he said.
“I’m excited to be a part of that, the new stadium, new team, great coaches, great team, so I’m excited, and I’m ready to play for the Black and Yellow.”