Canadian Football League Exports: Philadelphia Eagles Lead The Way

Kevin NiuContributor IFebruary 6, 2010

The Canadian Football League has always been a refuge for players overlooked by the NFL, who are looking for a second chance.

Many former Canadian League stars, like Doug Flutie and Warren Moon have gone on from the CFL to enjoy successful NFL careers.

Now, with NFL Europe and the Arena Football League both defunct, the Canadian Football League should see more of its stars playing south of the border for the NFL.

Case in point: just over a week after their playoff loss to the Cowboys, the Philadelphia Eagles have already signed the CFL's Rookie of the Year, Martell Mallett.

Mallett, a running back, played at the FCS school, University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, where he rushed for 2952 yards and 27 touchdowns in four years.

Ranked 96th out of 144 other running backs in his draft class by nfldraftscout.com, Martell Mallett went undrafted and drew no interest from NFL teams in 2009. Mallett went on to join the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League.

As a Lion, Mallett rushed for 1240 yards, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. For his successful season, Mallett was awarded as the CFL Rookie of the Year.

Two months after his award-winning rookie season in Canada, Mallett worked out with the Eagles, who were looking for some depth behind oft-injured running back Brian Westbrook and second-year rusher, LeSean McCoy.

On January 19th, the Eagles signed Mallett to their team.

A little more than two weeks after signing Mallett, the Eagles were at it again as yesterday, there were reports that they were working out CFL defensive end Ricky Foley.

Foley, another BC Lion, led the CFL with 12 sacks this past season, and could be a nice pick-up for the Eagles, who need a good end to work opposite Trent Cole.

There has been talk that Foley is the next Cameron Wake, also a former BC Lion.

In 2008, Wake recorded 23 sacks on his way to winning the CFL's Most Outstanding Defensive Player award. Signed by the Dolphins this past offseason, Wake recorded 5.5 sacks in 2009, his first NFL season.

What can we learn from the signings of Wake and Mallett, and now the interest in Foley? The CFL has some talent that NFL teams can surely use and the league is beginning to take notice.

Last season, before signing on with the Dolphins, Wake reportedly drew interest from the Bills, Saints, Vikings and Rams. Meanwhile, Foley, aside from the Eagles, has also drawn interest from the Jets, Rams, and Patriots. Don't be surprised if this off-season, the NFL signs more players from across the border than it has in the past.

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