Toronto Argonauts kicker Mike Vanderjagt has decided not to report to training camp. The 13-year football veteran has asked for, and been granted, his release.
Commented Vanderjagt, "After many conversations with my family, we have come to the decision that after 13 years of professional football, I’m better suited to be with my family in Florida. At 39-years-old, my priorities have changed. I enjoy my life out of the spotlight. I thoroughly appreciate all the Argonauts have done for me over the course of my career both before my time in the NFL and after. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the organization. Having been born and raised in southern Ontario, I appreciate the feeling the fans there gave me of always being home. Instead of retiring, I have asked for my release to leave my options open in case my feelings change."
An Oakville, Ontario native, Vanderjagt holds several Argos regular season, playoff and Grey Cup records for excellence in place kicking and punting. In 1996, he was named the Grey Cup game’s Most Outstanding Canadian for a perfect 5-for-5 performance. He was honoured as an East Division and CFL All-Star for a terrific 1997 season in which he single-handedly scored 190 points. Vanderjagt played 18 games in his return to the Boatmen in 2008, accounting for 161 points, with a 76.5% (39 of 51) field goal success rate, averaged 44.4 yards/punt and 55.6 kickoff yards.
Regarded as the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history with a staggering 86.4 per cent average, Vanderjagt spent nine seasons in the NFL, primarily with the Indianapolis Colts and part of one season with the Dallas Cowboys. He achieved perfection for field goal kicking (37 for 37) in the 2003 season, the same year he won the AFC scoring title and was named to the NFL Pro-Bowl team. He also won the 1999 NFL scoring title in just his second season.
Argonauts GM/VP, Football Operations, Adam Rita remarked, "We are thankful for Mike’s career here in Toronto and appreciate his work to win games for us and be a team guy. We would like to wish Vandy all the best of luck in the future. This gives him the opportunity to spend more time with his family and with his business. This does not come as a surprise to us and we have worked this off-season recruiting kickers to fill this vacancy. More announcements are imminent."