Roster moves round up: Leone, Lacey NFL bound

The Edmonton Eskimos have released linebacker Deon Lacey so he can pursue NFL opportunities and there are reports he’s signed a futures contract with Miami Dolphins. 

Lacey spent the last three seasons with the Eskimos, recorded 78 defensive tackles, three interceptions returning one for a touchdown, and one quarterback sack.  He also recorded 16 tackles on special teams and was the team’s Most Outstanding Special Teams player in 2014 and 2015. He was also a Western Division All-Star in 2014.

He was also at the centre of a Labour Day controversy in 2015 when he refused to shake the hand of Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell before Edmonton’s 16 to 7 loss.

Here’s Miami Sun-Sentinel reporter Omar Kelly’s assessment of why the Dolphins are interested in Lacey.

The Dolphins are in desperate need of linebacker help considering how much this injury-decimated unit, which is led by Kiko Alonso, struggled in 2016.

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The B.C. Lions announced Tuesday they have granted punter Richie Leone early free-agent status to pursue a contract in the NFL.

The 24-year-old, who joined the Lions in 2015, was a CFL West Division all-star the last two seasons.

Leone led the league with a 49.3-yard punt average in 2016, often flipping field position with his towering boots. He also finished sixth in kickoff average at 65.0 yards.

“We thank Richie for his contributions to our team over the past two years,” Lions head coach and general manager Wally Buono said in statement. “He brought excitement to our kicking game and we wish him the very best in his future football endeavours.”

While Leone was lights out as a punter for B.C., he struggled while trying to learn the intricacies of place kicking on the job. The University of Houston product was just 35-for-51 on field goals this season and also missed five of his 30 convert attempts.

The Lions were so concerned with Leone’s ability on field goals and converts that they brought Paul McCallum, who turns 47 on Saturday, out of retirement late in the season.

Leone’s departure and McCallum’s uncertain future leaves a big hole for the Lions in both facets of the kicking game heading into 2017.

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The Calgary Stampeders have signed international receiver Kamar Jorden and national defensive lineman Quinn Smith.

Smith played 10 games in 2016 including four starts at defensive tackle, recording 10 tackles, three sacks and two knockdowns. He missed three games due to a drug suspension after testing positive for the anabolic steroid Methandienone.

It was Smith’s second positive test as a professional. His punishment could have been tougher, but his first violation pre-dates the CFL’s current policy.

“Quinn has to potential to grow as a player and I believe the best is yet to come,” Stampeders president and general manager John Hufnagel said in a statement. “His ability to play on both sides of the ball has been a great asset to us over the past two seasons.”

Jorden posted career highs in 2016 with nine games played, 42 catches, 580 yards and three touchdowns. The 27-year-old Darby, Pa., product was been eligible to become a free agent in February.

“Kamar made great strides in 2016 and he performed well when given the opportunity,” John Hufnagel said. “I look forward to seeing him build on his performance and take the next step in 2017.”

Jorden had a pair of 100-yard games for the Stampeders in 2016, including career highs of nine receptions for 126 yards in a Sept. 24 game against Winnipeg. He had eight catches for 117 yards against Toronto on Oct. 10. Including the post-season, Jorden had at least three catches in 10 of the 11 games in which he played.

“I wanted to return to the Stampeders because I believe I still have a lot to prove as a player,” said Jorden. “As a team, we also have a lot to prove and I want to do everything in my power to help us achieve redemption in 2017.”

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The Calgary Stampeders have signed international receiver Kamar Jorden.

Jorden posted career highs in 2016 with nine games played, 42 catches, 580 yards and three touchdowns. The 27-year-old Darby, Pa., product was been eligible to become a free agent in February.

“Kamar made great strides in 2016 and he performed well when given the opportunity,” Stampeders president and general manager John Hufnagel said in a statement. “I look forward to seeing him build on his performance and take the next step in 2017.”

Jorden had a pair of 100-yard games for the Stampeders in 2016, including career highs of nine receptions for 126 yards in a Sept. 24 game against Winnipeg. He had eight catches for 117 yards against Toronto on Oct. 10. Including the post-season, Jorden had at least three catches in 10 of the 11 games in which he played.

“I wanted to return to the Stampeders because I believe I still have a lot to prove as a player,” said Jorden. “As a team, we also have a lot to prove and I want to do everything in my power to help us achieve redemption in 2017.”

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The Saskatchewan signed international running back Daniel Thomas, national defensive back Jordan Reaves and national wide receiver Kelvin Muamba on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-2 225 pound Thomas played 52 regular season games through four seasons with the Miami Dolphins after originally being selected by the team in the second round (62nd overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft. He amassed 1,480 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 409 carries while adding 412 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 55 receptions.




Thomas spent two seasons at Kansas State where he was named First Team All-Big 12 in 2009 and Second Team All-Big 12 in 2010.

The 6-foot-2 220 pound Reaves returns to the Riders after spending 2016 with the club where he picked up two special teams tackles in five regular season games. The 26-year-old Winnipeg native was a free agent after finishing the season on the team’s practice roster.

The 6-foot-1 210 pound Muamba re-joins the Riders after originally signing with the team’s practice roster in October, 2016 where he remained for the final four weeks of the season. The 23-year-old previously spent three seasons with the Laurier Golden Hawks where he caught 57 passes for 621 yards and one touchdown.

– with files from CP

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