QB Nathan Rourke signs with Jacksonville of the NFL

Canadian Quarterback Nathan Rourke has signed with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, after working out for numerous teams over the last couple of weeks.

Contract and financial details weren’t immediately available but the NFL’s minimum salary for 2023 is US$750,000. It’s also unknown how much of Rourke’s contract will be guaranteed.

The six-foot-two, 209-pound Rourke still has a year left on his CFL deal. On Monday, he became eligible to sign a futures deal south of the border as per the league’s NFL window.

Rourke was born in Victoria, B.C. and played college football at Ohio.

After lighting up the CFL in his rookie season, Rourke announced he was taking a shot to work out for some NFL teams.  There was a long list of teams interested in the young quarterback..

Just last week, he worked out for the Cleveland Browns, the 12th team he’s visited this off-season. The others include the New York Giants, Kansas City, Cincinnati, L.A. Chargers, Las Vegas, Jacksonville, Minnesota, Denver, Indianapolis, Tampa Bay and Arizona.

Rourke was bypassed in the 2021 NFL draft after his college career at Ohio. He then signed with B.C., which took Rourke in the second round, 15th overall, of the 2021 CFL draft.

Rourke served as veteran Michael Reilly’s backup his first season with B.C., but got plenty of first-team practice reps as Reilly nursed a season-long elbow ailment. After making two starts as a rookie, Rourke took the CFL by storm in 2022.

He threw for over 300 yards six times (including three 400-yard performances) in staking B.C. to an 8-1 record. But Rourke’s season was cut short by a Lisfranc sprain in his right foot that required surgery.

Rourke returned for B.C.’s regular-season finale as the Lions (12-6) finished second in the West. Rourke led B.C. past Calgary 30-16 in the division semifinal, completing 22-of-30 passes for 321 yard and two TDs.

B.C.’s season ended with a 28-20 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the West final. Rourke finished 20-of-37 passes for 300 yards with a TD and two interceptions while rushing twice for 20 yards.

In 10 regular-season starts, Rourke completed 255-of-324 passes (league-high 78.7 per cent) for 3,349 yards with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also ran for 304 yards and seven TDs in being named the CFL’s top Canadian.

–With files from the Canadian Press–

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