Willie Jefferson has brought his swagger back to Winnipeg for training camp.
Jefferson sat down for his first media session of the year wearing a ‘W’ headband with black sunglasses on.
“It’s too bright out here in Winnipeg, it’s so much love in the atmosphere,” Jefferson said with a wide smile.
Jefferson is feeling the energy in the Manitoba capital, especially from his defending Grey Cup champion teammates. One of his running mates is fellow defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat. The pair of pass rushers were training together in Texas for the 2021 CFL season.
“2021 Willie Jefferson compared to the 2019 Willie Jefferson, I feel like I’ve gotten better on my get-off, hand work has improved, footwork has improved, maintenance is above average. I’m feeling good, just ready to add to what we did,” Jefferson said.
“2019 that year is over, we don’t really talk about that in this building anymore. 2019 is over, 2021 is in front of us and all we’re trying to do is make plays and be a dynamic defence like we were in 2019, but a couple of steps faster.”
That could be scary for opposing offensive linemen trying to block the league’s reigning Most Outstanding Defensive Player. The last game Jefferson played with Jeffcoat the duo combined for six tackles, five sacks, three forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery while wrecking the Hamilton Tiger-Cats offence during a convincing 33-12 victory in the CFL championship.
“Coming off 2019 and the film that we put out in the Grey Cup, I don’t know if there’s another defensive end tandem like me and Jackson,” Jefferson said. “Top two and we not number two — number one.”