Former NFL OL, potential Riders starter Cyrus Kouandjio decides to retire

Former NFL offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio has elected to retire, head coach Craig Dickenson revealed in his media availability on Monday.

Dickenson said the team tried to convince Kouandjio to play this season, but he’s suffering from knee pain. The six-foot-seven, 322-pound blocker is unwilling to continue playing through the pain to pursue professional football.

The 27-year-old was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Alabama.

Kouandjio spent three seasons with the Bills, playing in 25 games with seven starts at offensive tackle. He then went on to attend training camp with the Detroit Lions before signing with the Denver Broncos in November 2017. He spent two seasons in Denver, playing in five games and making one start.

The native of Cameroon was signed by the Riders in March 2020 and has been on the roster ever since.

Kouandjio was in the mix to start for the Riders at right tackle. That spot was manned by Thaddeus Coleman in 2019, though he was not retained in free agency and is now a member of the Edmonton Elks. Veteran Takoby Cofield was pencilled-in as Coleman’s initial replacement, though he retired just before training camp.

Incumbent left tackle Terran Vaughn remains out with a shoulder injury, leaving Saskatchewan without much experience at the tackle position. Dickenson acknowledged that the team is concerned about the injury but did not provide a timeline for his recovery.