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The first CFL free agent to sign with a rival team was a Saskatchewan Roughrider, but not the one everyone was anticipating.

Receiver Cary Koch, not marquee free agent Andy Fantuz, agreed to a contract with the Edmonton Eskimos on Wednesday as CFL free agency official began.

Koch, an import, spent the past two seasons with the 'Riders. In 2010, his rookie year, he had 21 catches for 299 yards and three touchdowns in eight games. He also had four receptions for 57 yards in the 2010 Grey Cup game. Last season, he played in nine games and had 15 catches for 133 yards.

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" Cary missed much of 2011 with an injury, but within the football fraternity his talent is widely recognized," Eskimos' general manager Eric Tillman said in a news release. "We really like how Cary approaches the game when he isn't the primary receiver. He runs every route full speed and he blocks extremely well, too. Championship clubs do all the little things right and Cary certainly fits that mould."

Koch replaces Jason Barnes, who was cut by Edmonton and signed by the Toronto Argonauts. There was no immediate word on where Fantuz will end up.

The B.C. Lions announced Wednesday they had resigned defensive backs Dante Marsh and Ryan Phillips, both of whom were bound for free agency. Just the day before the Lions also signed defensive back Lin-J Shell, who had been released by the Argonauts.

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Allan Maki is a national news reporter and sports writer based in Calgary. More

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