Canadian offensive lineman Dakoda Shepley turned the cancellation of the 2020 CFL season into a positive by signing with the San Francisco 49ers.
After opting out of his contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Shepley worked out in the Golden State and signed a one-year pact with the defending NFC champions.
“It was a long process, but the CFLPA did a great job of making sure players like me, with the potential to play in 2020, had a fair chance to find the opportunity,” Shepley told Windsor Star reporter Jim Parker.
“I came to San Francisco on Tuesday and had to pass three COVID tests before my workout on Friday. Excited just to play football at this point, long overdue after the delays of the CFL.”
Shepley inked a deal with the New York Jets after going unselected in the 2018 NFL draft. The University of British Columbia product was cut following training camp that year and spent the rest of the season awaiting another NFL opportunity.
The Windsor, Ontario native was a first-round pick of the Riders in the 2018 CFL draft. He signed with the green and white in March 2019 and started 14 games at right guard last season, winning the team’s Most Outstanding Rookie award.
“I attribute most of my maturity and development as an offensive lineman to my time spent with Duke Manyweather in Dallas. World-class offensive line, strength and technique coach, who took me in when he didn’t have to,” Shepley said.
“I’m the only Canadian he ever trained and the only CFL player at the time. I wasn’t ready to be in the NFL straight out of UBC. I feel prepared as ever after training with Duke, plus my CFL season under my belt.”
That film renewed intrigue in Shepley as there were multiple NFL teams interested in his services. He chose San Francisco because it was the best chance to earn an active roster or practice squad spot on a short timeline.