Riders make Willie Jefferson contract extension official

The Saskatchewan Roughriders signed defensive lineman Willie Jefferson to a contract extension, the team announced Sunday.

3DownNation insider Justin Dunk reported the news first.

Jefferson was eligible to become a free agent on Feb. 13.

He will remain with the Roughriders after joining the team in Sept., 2016. The 27-year-old began his CFL career with the Edmonton Eskimos in 2014 and played two seasons there before spending part of 2016 with the NFL’s Washington Redskins.

“Willie is an important part of our team culture and has developed into a leader on and off the field,” said Riders GM and head coach Chris Jones. “He is a versatile player with a rare combination of size and speed. At 27 years old he has lots of good football ahead of him.”

Jefferson started all 18 regular-season games for Saskatchewan last season, registering career highs with 45 defensive tackles and eight quarterback sacks and a league-leading 37 quarterback pressures.

He also added a blocked punt that he recovered and returned 22 yards for a touchdown. He was named a CFL All-Star and West Division All-Star.