Argos sign former NFL and All-American running back Kendall Hunter

Toronto has signed American running back Kendall Hunter to a two-year contract, per sources.

The Oklahoma State product was a two-time All-American – first in 2008 and consensus selection in 2010 – rushing for over 1,500 yards and scoring 16 touchdowns on the ground in both those seasons. After Hunter’s senior year he was selected in the fourth round, 115th overall by the 49ers.

During his rookie campaign with San Francisco the 5-foot-7, 200-pound back rushed 112 times for 473 yards and two touchdowns, adding 16 receptions for 195 yards while serving as a backup to Frank Gore. 2012 saw Hunter play 11 games, rushing for 371 yards and two touchdowns while catching nine passes for 60 yards, but an Achilles tendon tear cut that season short. He rehabbed and made it back for 16 games in 2013, gaining 358 yards on the ground to go along with three touchdowns.

Another injury, torn ACL suffered in training camp, caused Hunter to miss the entire 2014 season. Hunter was placed on injured reserve after playing in two pre-season games with the 49ers in 2015, later given an injury settlement and released. He was signed by New Orleans in December 2015, playing in two games. After the Saints declined to re-sign Hunter, he did not play in 2016.

The 28-year-old was added to the Argonauts negotiation list on Aug. 27, 2016 and with the Argos electing, for now, not to re-sign veteran running back Brandon Whitaker – one of just two running backs to rush for 1,000 yards in the CFL last season – Hunter could be the favourite to be Toronto’s primary back, depending on how Marc Trestman and the new double blue regime feel about him. Ben Malena, signed last September, is the only other international ball carrier on the current Argos roster.

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