Stan Gelbaugh, the former Maryland quarterback who was the Most Valuable Player of the World League of American Football's first season, has stopped waiting for the NFL to call.
He has joined the practice squad of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and expects to sign a two-year deal with the team within two weeks.
"This pretty much ends any chance to ever play in the NFL again. If and when I sign a contract here, it'll be a two-year contract. But the NFL wasn't interested, anyway, so here I am. I make my living playing football, and the money spends as good as the money earned down there," he said last night from Hamilton, Ontario.
When Hamilton first called last week, he turned the team down. But after the club called the second time with a better offer, he went to Hamilton Sunday and practiced for the first time yesterday. The contract doesn't kick in until he joins the regular team. He indicated he'll leave if he's not added to the regular squad in two weeks.
Gelbaugh also is obligated to play for London again in the World League next spring, and he'll be happy to do that.
"If I could count on making enough each year in the World League, I wouldn't do this. But unless you make good bonus money and stay healthy, you don't make enough in the World League to buy a house in Maryland. That's basically the problem," he said.
Gelbaugh earned $90,000 last year with bonuses, but the base salary for a World League quarterback is $25,000 and a player gets $1,000 a week in that league if he's injured and can't play.
"Naturally, I'd rather play in the NFL if I had the chance, but there were no offers and this is a good opportunity," he said.
The Hamilton team started off 0-3 and is looking for a spark. The current quarterbacks are Todd Dillon, who recently suffered an eye injury, and Mike Kerrigan.