HASH(0xb3e958)

Former Lions star Bighill not about to change his approach with NFL’s Saints

Bighill won't change his approach in NFL

Adam Bighill won’t change the approach that made him a CFL star when he wears the jersey of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.

The five-foot-10, 230-pound linebacker will get his first NFL opportunity after signing a three-year deal with the Saints earlier this month. The former Central Washington star was bypassed in the league’s 2011 draft and instead signed with the B.C. Lions.

Under-sized by NFL standards, Bighill adjusted quickly to Canadian football, becoming a starter as a rookie. He missed only nine games with B.C., and just three after the 2011 season when the Lions won the Grey Cup.

“I don’t see (cracking the Saints’ roster) too much different than if I were to evaluate myself up here,” Bighill said. “Just be consistent, have trust in what you’re going to do on the field every snap and build trust within the coaching staff.

“It’s not really about making sure you get it right, it’s all about knowing where you’re going and are they going to be able to stop you? They (Saints coaches) will learn I’m going to give them everything I’ve got. Football is my life and I take it very seriously.”

Bighill isn’t the only former CFL player on New Orleans’ roster.

The Saints also added defensive back Forrest Hightower of the Grey Cup-champion Ottawa Redblacks this off-season and their roster features defensive backs Delvin Breaux and Erik Harris, two former Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Bighill had six productive seasons with B.C., registering 489 tackles and 33 sacks in 99 games. Last year, he and fellow linebacker Solomon Elimimian became the first teammates to register 100 or more tackles in the same season.

“I’m going to miss (Elimimian), my teammates and the coaches and the friends I’ve made throughout the CFL,” he said. “Leaving a legacy is something I really wanted to do but at the same time you realize you can only play this game for so long.

“This is really going to be the best opportunity for me and my family.”

Bighill admits facing many challenges early in his CFL career. But six years later, he feels he’s better equipped now to battle for an NFL position than he was after university.

“When you’re playing professional football in your rookie year, things are moving pretty fast,” he said. “Everything is new, you’ve never seen these things before, you’re used to playing (American) football and you come up here, more or less, to a completely different game.

“I’d say throughout my six years here I’ve expanded my football knowledge immensely. The game is so much slower now, my eyes are able to see more and I can process more even before the snap. And when that happens for a player, it’s a big advantage.”

Bighill doesn’t see encountering any difficulties having to now revert back to American football.

“I think it’ll be easier going back just because of the cerebralness you need for the CFL game,” Bighill said. “With receivers moving around, running backs getting out of the backfield it (Canadian football) is the most organized chaos, that’s the best way I could put it.

“In the NFL, you have one guy that can motion or you’ll have three people move and set themselves but there’s not a bunch of motion. When people line up you can, for the most part, get a really good clue of what they’re going to do just based on their alignment.”

Experience has also taught Bighill when to tangle with hulking offensive linemen, although he doesn’t see much difference in the size of linemen between the leagues.

“In my mind, the average in the CFL would be around six foot four and 305-310 pounds,” he said. “In the NFL, it might be six foot four and 315 pounds but I think you’re going to see guys be a bit more athletic.

“But for me, being under-sized isn’t a concern because I feel like I play like I’m six foot two and have the technique to take on blocks and use my instincts to put myself in good position. Sometimes there’s no sense locking up with a big offensive lineman but you need to know when to come downhill and fill the gap and hold the point . . . I know how to play both.”

Bighill can also shine on special teams, giving him more opportunities to impress the Saints’ brass.

“Special-teams is going to be a huge part of the game,” he said. “Even your starting linebackers down there are on one or two special teams.

“I think my athleticism and explosiveness are going to be a huge part of what I’m doing.”

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

UPDATE: Poor ventilation likely cause of carbon monoxide incident at Delta farm

All 42 patients have been released from hospital, according to Delta Fire

LETTER: Township has much to do the day before Christmas

A Langley letter writer shares her prose about Township Langley council preparing for Christmas Day.

Santa, Moana drop in on Aldergrove children’s party: PHOTOS

Annual Christmas party for children hosted by Aldergrove Elks

North Langley boys fight to finish ahead of Clayton’s Lord Tweedsmuir

Tsumura Basketball Invitational action wrapped up Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

Langley families spend time with the man in red

Willows Church hosted a Santa Claus Breakfast Saturday morning, attracting lots of folks.

VIDEO: Goalie of Langley-based Giants kept door shut to U.S. league-leaders

Vancouver G-Men defeated the Winterhawks Tuesday 5-3 at LEC, now 1-0 in Portland Friday night.

Aldergrove Secondary celebrates 60th anniversary

Aldergrove Secondary School is celebrating “60 years of Totems” with an open house on May 12, 2018.

Site C decision coming Monday

Premier John Horgan to announce fate of dam project at B.C. legislature

VIDEO: Man frustrated that Vancouver taxi driver won’t take him home to New Westminster

Kuldip Gill says that not being able to get a ride to the suburbs is a constant problem

Legacy of Amanda Todd lives on through B.C. foundation

Todd’s mother Carol stresses the importance of putting the phone down and talking with children

UPDATE: Train hits hydro pole, causes outage near Deltaport

No injuries reported but traffic in and out of Deltaport is blocked

VIDEO: Vancouver Whitecaps acquire star striker Kei Kamara

Kamara has 103 goals and 39 assists in 298 appearances over 11 Major League Soccer seasons

Smartphone pedometers underestimate steps, but valuable health tool: study

UBC researchers found the iPhone underestimated steps by 21.5 per cent

Most Read