BC Lions training camp: The curious case of Kirby Fabien

Leo’s lose out on top draft pick

He has had a stellar college career. He has all the physical tools a team could hope for in an Offensive Tackle. Blessed with quick feet and long arms, Kirby Fabien managed to play himself into a top draft pick, a trophy catch, and the BC Lions thought they had reeled him in.

Let me be up front about this, I have no problem with the decision Kirby Fabien made.  Education is always paramount to athletics. Fabien has opted to return to the University of Calgary to compete in the CIS for another year. I do have a problem with Fabien’s agent, Jonathon Hardaway and his tactic of steering players from one league to another. I also have a problem with the BC Lions personnel team.

First of all, the CFL draft is littered with top flight selections that never play a snap in the league.  The risk of drafting high end talent is knowing they will try their luck with the NFL. You can’t begrudge a young man for following the money.

kirby fabien lions

When will the Dino suit up in Lions Orange? Next year or the year after that perhaps? (Photo -

It’s the money that will lead these players away and frustrate CFL GM’s every year.

Enter Mr. Hardaway

This agent is fast becoming the scourge of CFL GM’s including BC Lions own Wally Buono.  Just this year, Hardaway has four clients that are top CFL draft picks that are returning to their respected CIS schools.

Like Fabien, Ti-Cat second round pick and fellow Calgary Dino, Carson Rockhill will return to claim another year of college eligibility.

Hardaway also represents second round pick Frederic Plessius (Hamilton), and third rounder, Arnaud Gascon-Nadeau (Hamilton) who will both return to the University of Laval.

If you’re scoring at home, that’s 0 for 3 for Tiger-Cats top draft picks coming to camp.

Last year Hardaway convinced BC bred Matt O’Donnell away from the CFL to return to Queens University. O’Donnell eventually signed on with the Cincinnati Bengals.

I am having a hard time coming to grasp with the Lions decision in drafting Fabien with the 7th overall pick.

The Leos are in a position to wait and develop a young prospect and Fabien does possess a skill set that has pro potential but he has two years of eligibility left.  That was quite a reach.

Surely at one point Fabien mentioned his commitment to his education.

Another wrinkle in this situation was during the post draft interviews and Lions media sessions, Fabien told reporters that he was excited to be drafted, following that up with the statement that he’ll be at (training) camp.

What changed between draft day (May 3rd) and May 31st ?

I’m sure the Lions brass will now be a little gun shy about drafting a player with remaining eligibility.

As for the curious case of Kirby Fabien, the Lions will hold his rights in perpetuity, he will return to Calgary to finish his degree, and fans will tell fish tales, with arms outstretched, indicating the size of the one that got away.

Cheers, The Bartender


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About Phil Slater

"The Bartender" - Raised on Vancouver Island where Phil played Football and Rugby in High School. Played O-Line for Bishop's University. A loyal member of the BC Lions nation since age 9. BC bred but travelled sea to sea in Canada trying to get a pulse on fan nation above the 49th. Unofficial voice of bartenders everywhere. Connect with Phil today!
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