Lirim Hajrullahu (born April 24, 1990) is a gridiron football placekicker who is currently a free agent. He most recently played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He is a two-time CFL East Division All-Star and became a Grey Cup champion with the Toronto Argonauts after kicking the game-winning field goal in the 105th Grey Cup game. Hajrullahu played CIS football for the Western Mustangs and attended Governor Simcoe Secondary School in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Lirim Hajrullahu
Free agent
Born: (1990-04-24) April 24, 1990 (age 29)
Gjilan, Kosovo, SFR Yugoslavia
Career information
CFL statusNational
Position(s)K/P
Height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight205 lb (93 kg)
UniversityWestern Mustangs
High schoolGovernor Simcoe
Career history
As player
20142015Winnipeg Blue Bombers
20162017Toronto Argonauts
20182019Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Career highlights and awards
CFL East All-Star2016, 2019
Career stats
Lirim Hajrullahu
Medal record
Men’s American football
Representing  Canada
World Championship
Silver medal – second place 2011 Austria Team Competition

Early lifeEdit

Hajrullahu was born in Kosovo and fled to Canada when he was eight years old on a refugee flight to escape war.[1][2] He started playing football in grade 10 at Governor Simcoe Secondary School in St. Catharines, Ontario.[1]

Professional careerEdit

Winnipeg Blue BombersEdit

Hajrullahu was signed by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on January 17, 2014.[3] He was the West Division nominee for the John Agro Special Teams Award in 2014.[4]

Toronto ArgonautsEdit

Hajrullahu became a free agent on February 9, 2016 and signed with the Toronto Argonauts that same day.[5]

He became the first player to score points in the first regular-season CFL game at BMO Field on June 23, 2016. Oddly enough, he scored the first CFL points for both a visiting team and the Argonauts. He conceded a safety to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, then later kicked a field goal for the Argos. Hamilton won the game, 40-23.[6]

During the 2017 season, Hajrullahu kicked the game winning field goal to secure a win in the 105th Grey Cup for Toronto.

Hamilton Tiger-CatsEdit

On February 13, 2018, Hajrullahu signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats worth roughly 145,000 CND.[7] During the season, Hajrullahu converted 85% of his field goals, while the Ti-Cats advanced in the playoffs to the East final before being eliminated. Despite receiving NFL interest, including a workout with the Seattle Seahawks, Hajrullahu took his time in choosing a team for 2019; he eventually signed a 2-year contract to return to Hamilton after six weeks of free agency.[8][9] He was named a CFL East Division All-Star for the second time in his career for the season. While he would have been in the option year of his contract following the 2019 season, the NFL would not allow its teams to sign CFL players entering these option years.[10] After there was still no resolution to this issue, the Tiger-Cats outright released Hajrullahu on January 9, 2020 to allow him to pursue NFL opportunities.[11]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Martin, Melissa (June 18, 2014). "Life, precious life: Bombers kicker, and former refugee, treasures it for many reasons". winnipegfreepress.com. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  2. ^ Penton, Kirk (October 6, 2014). "Blue Bombers kicker Lirim Hajrullahu took a long, hard road to the CFL". winnipegsun.com. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  3. ^ "Lirim Hajrullahu signs with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers". westernmustangs.ca. January 17, 2014. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  4. ^ "HAJRULLAHU NAMED WEST DIVISION'S MOST OUTSTANDING SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER". bluebombers.com. November 13, 2014. Archived from the original on November 28, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  5. ^ "Argos sign Canadian kicker Hajrullahu". 9 February 2016.
  6. ^ "2016-06-23 Game Tracker - Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. Toronto Argonauts (2276)".
  7. ^ "Ticats sign Canadian K/P Lirim Hajrullahu - CFL.ca". CFL.ca. 2018-02-13. Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  8. ^ Dunk, Justin. "Ticats bring kicker Lirim Hajrullahu back - 3DownNation".
  9. ^ "Lirim Hajrullahu signs two-year deal with Ticats". Canadian Football League. 1 April 2019.
  10. ^ "Players stuck in limbo with NFL window issues unresolved". TSN. December 5, 2019.
  11. ^ "Ticats release Hajrullahu to pursue NFL opportunities". Canadian Football League. January 9, 2020.

External linksEdit