Free agent CFL pass rusher Shawn Lemon plans to lead the league in sacks for the 2020 season

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Even though Shawn Lemon is currently a free agent, he still has visions of claiming the CFL sack title in 2020.

“I still plan to lead the CFL in sacks (in 2020). If you look at my career, I’ve produced in every uniform I’ve put on so it doesn’t matter what uniform I have on,” Lemon told Canadian Press reporter Dan Ralph.

The proven pass rusher has notched 70 sacks in 107 career games, including 20 quarterback takedowns the last two seasons. Since coming into the CFL in 2011, Lemon has been terrorizing opposing pivots against the odds.

“I always have a chip on my shoulder. I was told in high school I wasn’t good enough to get a Division 1 scholarship, then in college (Akron) I was told I wasn’t good enough to make it to the NFL (signed with San Francisco and Pittsburgh in 2015),” Lemon said.

“Well, nine years after graduating I’m still playing pro football. This is nothing new to me, I’ve been beating the odds my whole life. I just keep going out and training hard and when the opportunity comes — which I know it will — I’ll be more than ready.”

The 31-year-old has played for six of the nine teams in the three-down league: Saskatchewan Roughriders; Edmonton Eskimos; Calgary Stampeders; Ottawa Redblacks; Toronto Argonauts; and B.C. Lions. Lemon has averaged over half-a-sack per game (0.65) no matter what jersey he’s been wearing, yet, he remains unsigned.

“Everything happens for a reason. The numbers are there … my numbers speak for themselves. I know I can still pass-rush at a very, very high level. I’m just waiting for the opportunity to come,” Lemon said.

“It is what it is. No matter what the situation is, I feel like my production and play over the past few years has been very good. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, I should have a job right now but I don’t.”

Lemon was named an East Division All-Star in 2016 when he recorded a career-high 14 sacks in 16 games and played a key role on the Argos defence that helped the team win a Grey Cup in 2017. That was the second CFL title of Lemon’s career, he was on the Stamps 2014 championship team.

“I don’t know what’s going on but sometimes you just have to let everything clear over, keep your faith in God and just keep chopping wood. One thing I’ve learned is to believe in yourself when no one else does,” Lemon said. 

“I’m learning patience. I know something will come. I think a few teams still need pass rushers, it’s just a matter of what they’re going to do with it.”