The 30-day window for teams to add more players to their practice roster began and the Ticats used it to bring in four players.
Defensive tackle Sheridan Lawley, a 2019 third-round pick by the Ticats; receiver Justin Thomas, who was with the Ticats in training camp this year; defensive tackle Johnny Robinson; and running back Tyrell Sutton.
No disrespect to any of the other players, including Lawley, who our own John Hodge was bullish on when he was drafted in May, but Sutton is the name that pops off the page.
Sutton spent six very productive years with the Alouettes before being traded to B.C. late last season. After the Lions opted not to bring him back, Sutton signed with the Argos in free agency but was released earlier this summer.
The Ticats have dealt with an inordinate amount of injuries to their tailbacks this year. Sean Thomas-Erlington, Maleek Irons and Cam Marshall have all spent time as the team’s starting running back. All three are now on the six-game injury list.
Anthony Coombs started the Labour Day Classic, but it was second-year man Jackson Bennett who saw the bulk of the carries, picking up 77 yards on 12 carries and scoring what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown.
But since Thomas-Erlington went down, the Ticats have been a tad reluctant to continue going with a Canadian at tailback. Once Cam Marshall was healthy, he was given the chance to start. With Coombs, who has running back experience from his time at the University of Manitoba, and Bennett, who was drafted as a DB/LB hybrid a year ago, the Ticats have options. But ones that maybe they aren’t entirely comfortable with on a team that has legitimate Grey Cup aspirations.
Enter Sutton, who has a 1,000-yard season on his résumé, and has averaged over five yards per carry in five of his six seasons.
Adding a bruiser to the backfield as the weather begins to turn colder is never a bad idea, adding one who is a former league all-star is an almost no-brainer.
Sutton’s veteran presence should also be welcome, as a guy who has seen it all he will be an invaluable resource to the team’s other backs, as well as being a guy who can take considerable pressure off still-new QB Dane Evans.
Even at 32, Sutton showed he still had plenty left last season with both Montreal and B.C., amassing nearly 700 yards on the ground in 13 games. If he can grind out those tough yards the same way he has done throughout his career, he will help keep this Ticats offence from being one dimensional.
This was a shrewd signing by Hamilton, one that could pay off huge as the team tries to end their 20-year championship drought.