Riders LB Deon Lacey back at practice, exits COVID protocol

Saskatchewan Roughriders linebacker Deon Lacey has exited COVID-19 protocol and returned to practice for the first time since Monday, according to a report from Derek Taylor of the Sportscage.

Lacey was on the field on Sunday and Monday after completing his mandatory seven-day quarantine period, but he was not present at practice Tuesday or Wednesday. TSN’s Farhan Lalji reported that the linebacker had to be entered into COVID-19 protocol.

The Riders failed to elaborate further on the nature of the situation, prompting fears that Lacey had tested positive for the virus and the CFL’s health and safety protocols would be tested for the first time.

“There’s certain things I’m supposed to say when it comes to that and I’m not sure what it is, I’m sorry,” head coach Craig Dickenson said during his Tuesday availability.

That crisis appear to be averted and the former NFLer has now returned to a depleted Saskatchewan linebacking corps.

The six-foot-two, 225-pound Lacey initially signed with the Riders in May 2020 after spending the previous three seasons in the NFL, but he never got the chance to don green and white last year because the CFL season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2019, Lacey played 16 games with the Miami Dolphins, recording four tackles. Prior to suiting up for the Dolphins, he spent two seasons with the Buffalo Bills playing in 32 games and making 16 tackles.

The Alabama native initially started his NFL career by signing with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2013, playing in three pre-season games and recording five tackles.

In February 2014, Lacey signed with the Edmonton Football Team where he made an immediate impact, playing in 54 games over three seasons and recording 114 defensive tackles, 68 special teams tackles, seven sacks, four forced fumbles, three interceptions and one touchdown.

Lacey was named a West Division All-Star in 2014 and helped Edmonton win the Grey Cup in 2015. After the 2016 season, Lacey worked out for several NFL teams before signing with Miami in January 2017.

While in the NCAA, Lacey spent four seasons at the University of West Alabama. In his best season in 2011, he was named the Gulf Conference Defensive Player of the Year and to four All-American teams after collecting 97 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, four sacks, two interceptions, four pass deflections and a fumble recovery. He finished his collegiate career with 267 tackles, nine sacks, six forced fumbles and five interceptions.

The 30-year-old Lacey is an extremely important addition to Saskatchewan’s lineup due to his versatility. He could potentially start at middle linebacker, weak-side linebacker or even defensive end depending on where he is needed most.