McIntyre makes CFL team |

McIntyre makes CFL team

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

Now there is only one pro football league where Garrett McIntyre hasn’t made the cut.

The former South Tahoe High football player added the Canadian Football League to his growing professional resume. McIntyre, a 24-year-old defensive end, has made the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, one of the oldest franchises north of the border.

“It was tough, but I did it,” said McIntyre by phone on Tuesday, the day before Hamilton opened its regular season against Toronto.

After concluding a successful college career at Fresno State, McIntyre tried to make the jump to the National Football League but was waived by Seattle, Arizona and Tennessee.

McIntyre, however, played for the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League for the past two years. When the AFL shut down for a year to ride out a downturn in the economy, McIntyre decided to pursue a job in Canada.

Hamilton General Manager Bob O’Billovich inquired about McIntyre’s availability soon after the AFL announced its plans. McIntyre caught O’Billovich’s attention during his playing days at Fresno State. The Tigers-Cats signed McIntyre on Feb. 11.

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Making the Tiger-Cats, who were a league-worst 3-15 last year, hasn’t been easy for McIntyre. Two days into camp, the 6-foot-3 defensive lineman suffered a high ankle sprain. Hamilton cut him the following day, then resigned him June 19 after his ankle healed.

McIntyre practiced with the team for three days, then played in the Tiger-Cats’ final preseason game against Toronto on June 23.

“I showed enough to keep me around,” McIntyre said.

McIntyre will start the season as one of the team’s four reserves and is hopeful of being activated at some point.

“They are going to let my ankle heal a bit,” he said.

The Tiger-Cats have made wholesale changes to their defensive line in hopes of improving the league’s worst pass rush. Hamilton’s defensive line produced 26 sacks a year ago. McIntyre made six quarterback sacks during his final season with San Jose in 2008.