Als sign former NFLer OJ Santiago

MONTREAL — Montreal Alouettes’ Vice President and General Manager Jim Popp announced today the signing of non-import tight end and NFL veteran O.J. Santiago for the 2010 season.

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“It will be nice to give O.J. a chance to continue playing football. He may be able to add a new dimension to our offence,” said Popp. “After working him out a few weeks ago, we felt like he was in great shape and he warranted this opportunity.”

Santiago (6’7’’, 265 lbs) was drafted in the third round, 70th overall, by the Atlanta Falcons in 1997. He played 78 career games, including Super Bowl XXXIII with the Falcons in 1998, recording 1,041 receiving yards and nine touchdowns on 81 catches. He also played with the Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos and in Oakland under Alouettes’ head coach Marc Trestman, who was the Raiders’ offensive coordinator at that time. A Canadian, he was also drafted in the fifth round, 40th overall by the Edmonton Eskimos in 1997. He is 36.

“I’m really excited to come home and to have a chance to work with Coach Trestman again,” Santiago said. “I know Montreal is the toast of the league and I want to be a part of it. It’s hard to defend a title and I want to do whatever I can to help the Alouettes retain it.”

2010 Alouettes draft pick Brian Ridgeway is also under contract.

Ridgeway (6’3’’, 210 lbs) was drafted by the Alouettes in the fifth round, 39th overall, of the 2010 CFL Canadian Draft. He played eight games in 2008 with the Simon Fraser Clan, finishing fifth in the Canada West Conference with 49 tackles while recording seven tackles for a loss, four sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles. He is 24.

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