Ottawa Redblacks punter Richie Leone is the latest player to take advantage of CFL opt outs and pursue NFL interest, according to TSN reporter Farhan Lalji.
“Punter Richie Leone is opting out of his contract in hopes of landing an NFL opportunity,” Lalji tweeted Monday. “Could provide value on a [practice roster] as not many have handled punts, FGs & KOs at the pro level.”
Leone re-signed with Ottawa this off-season, but his contract was set to expire in February 2021. Should he return to the CFL, he will be a free agent.
Leone is a three-time CFL all-star punter, lead the three-down league in punting average in 2015 and 2016 (49.5 and 49.3) and East Division in 2019 (48.4). The 27-year-old Leone has played 71 career games north of the border punting 472 times for 22,809 gross yards (48.3 average). 83 yards is Leone’s longest career punt.
After the 2016 CFL season Leone inked a deal with the Arizona Cardinals, but he was waived among the final roster moves before the regular season on September 2 and signed a free agent pact with Ottawa. Leone went unselected in the 2014 NFL draft out of the University of Houston, he went to training camp with the Baltimore Ravens, but was released among last training camp cuts.
Monday was the first day for CFL players to opt out of their current contracts. They have until next August 31 to make a final decision.