Free-agent quarterback Tracy Ham agreed to terms late last night with Baltimore's new Canadian Football League team, a source in Canada said.
Ham, the CFL's Outstanding Player of the Year in 1989, agreed in principle to a two-year deal with an option to be Baltimore's marquee player. Financial terms were unavailable, but as the team's marquee player, his contract would not count against Baltimore's $2.5 million salary cap.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats also had submitted an offer to Ham, 30, who played with the Toronto Argonauts last season.
Ham spent the first six of his seven CFL seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos, where he was named the league's top player, passing for 30 touchdowns and 4,366 yards. He was involved in the largest trade in CFL history, going to Toronto last season in an eight-for-eight deal.
It was a trade that backfired both for Ham and the Argos. Splitting time with two other quarterbacks, Reggie Slack and Mike Kerrigan, Ham threw for 2,147 yards, eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions. By midseason, Toronto shelved its run-and-shoot, demoted head coach Dennis Meyer and fired offensive coordinator Mouse Davis. The Argos finished last in the Eastern Division at 3-15. The run-and-shoot was ill-conceived for Ham's improvisational skills.
It's believed Ham chose Baltimore over Hamilton because of the opportunity to play in a large metropolitan city in the United States. A native of High Springs, Fla., Ham played collegiately at Georgia Southern, where he passed for more 5,000 yards and rushed for more than 5,000.
In 1989 at Edmonton, Ham set a CFL record for most yards rushing by a quarterback with 1,005. A year later, he bettered that mark by running for 1,096.
* Bernie Glieberman, former owner of the Ottawa Rough Riders, announced that the Shreveport Pirates will begin play next season.
The announcement followed by a day the addition of Baltimore to the league.