Comprehensive guide to Canadians and former CFL players in NFL training camps in 2021

With NFL training camps underway across the United States, it’s time to remind ourselves of players south of the border who are Canadian or have CFL connections.

Players listed in alphabetical order by last name. ‘N’ denotes a national (ie. Canadian) player, while ‘A’ denotes an American player.

DL Eli Ankou – Free Agent (N)

CFL rights holder: Ottawa Redblacks

The Ottawa native dressed for seven regular season games in 2020, recording five total tackles as a rotational interior defensive lineman. He was in training camp with the Buffalo Bills, though he was released following the club’s first preseason game.

TE Antony Auclair – Houston Texans (N)

CFL rights holder: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The six-foot-six, 255-pounder dressed for eight games last season en route to a Super Bowl victory with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He signed with the Houston Texans, inking a one-year deal that included $350,000 USD in guaranteed money.

Photo courtesy: Evan Siegle/Packers.com

REC Reggie Begelton – Green Bay Packers (A)

CFL rights holder: None

The 2019 CFL all-star spent most of last season on the practice roster with the Packers, though he was also activated for one regular season game. He’s back for another year after signing a futures contract with the team in January.

DL Brandin Bryant – Buffalo Bills (A)

The six-foot-two, 305-pound defender dressed for one game with the Browns in 2020, recording one solo tackle. Bryant dressed for ten games with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2018 and one game with the Montreal Alouettes in 2019.

DB Tevaughn Campbell – Los Angeles Chargers (N)

CFL rights holder: None

The Regina product appeared in fourteen games with Los Angeles last season, making 22 total tackles, three pass knockdowns, one forced fumble, and one pick-six. It was a sensational season for the Scarborough native who will look to take on an even bigger role with the Chargers in 2021.

REC Chase Claypool – Pittsburgh Steelers (N)

CFL rights holder: B.C. Lions

The Abbotsford native lived up to the hype as a rookie in 2020, recording 72 touches for 889 yards and eleven touchdowns. It was second-best single-season performance by a Canadian receiver in NFL history and Claypool will look to top it as he returns for his second season.

DL Christian Covington – Los Angeles Chargers (N)

CFL rights holder: B.C. Lions

The son of all-time CFL sack leader Grover Covington started 14 games for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2020, recording 39 total tackles. He is entering his seventh NFL season and his first with Los Angeles where he’ll look to make an impact on the west coast.

Photo courtesy: Matt Starkey/Kansas City Chiefs

OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif – Kansas City Chiefs (N)

CFL rights holder: Calgary Stampeders

The 30-year-old medical doctor opted out of the 2020 NFL season to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s planning to return to the Chiefs in 2021 where he’s projected to start at right guard while earning close to $5 million USD.

LB Samuel Eguavoen – Miami Dolphins (A)

CFL rights holder: None

The former Saskatchewan Roughrider dressed for all 16 regular season games a year ago, making nine total tackles and knocking down one pass. He’s back for a third season with the Dolphins where he’ll look to make an impact in a contract year.

DL Neville Gallimore – Dallas Cowboys (N)

CFL rights holder: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The 2020 NFL Draft third-round pick took on a larger role as his first season progressed, eventually starting nine games. He made 28 total tackles and 0.5 sacks as a rookie and should only get better in 2021 with a full season under his belt.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

K/P Lirim Hajrullahu – Free Agent (N)

CFL rights holder: None

The 31-year-old had stints with the Los Angeles Rams and Carolina Panthers in 2020, though he did not dress for a regular season NFL game. He played in The Spring League to gain more exposure, hitting a league record 59-yard field goal in his debut performance.

DB Erik Harris – Atlanta Falcons (A)

CFL rights holder: None

The former Hamilton Tiger-Cat enters his sixth NFL season after signing a one-year contract with the Falcons in March. He started twelve games last year with the Las Vegas Raiders at safety, though he is expected to play more of a depth role in Atlanta.

REC N’Keal Harry – New England Patriots (N)

CFL rights holder: None

The 2019 first-round NFL Draft pick struggled to make an impact last year, recording just 33 receptions for 309 yards and two touchdowns. He’ll look to improve on those numbers with Alabama product Mac Jones potentially taking over as the new No. 1 pivot in Foxboro.

DL Michael Hoecht – Los Angeles Rams (N)

CFL rights holder: Ottawa Redblacks

The Brown University product was signed by the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2020 after demonstrating shocking athleticism for his six-foot-three, 290-pound frame. He spent the entire season on the practice roster and will compete for an expanded role in 2021.

DB Jevon Holland – Miami Dolphins (N)

CFL rights holder: None

The native of Coquitlam, B.C. was a second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and is expected to be an impact player for the Dolphins. He hasn’t played football since opting out of the 2020 NCAA season due to the pandemic, but shouldn’t miss a beat early in his NFL career.

LB Nate Holley – Miami Dolphins

CFL rights holder: none

Holley signed with the Dolphins last summer and is trying to earn a roster spot in Miami once again. The former Most Outstanding Rookie was activated in Week 13 last season and played his first NFL game that week.

Photo courtesy: Carolina Panthers

RB Chuba Hubbard – Carolina Panthers (N)

CFL rights holder: Calgary Stampeders

The former Heisman Trophy candidate was selected in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, which was higher than many pundits projected. He brings speed and versatility to a Panthers team that is hoping to get a bounce-back year from star running back Christian McCaffery.

OL Ryan Hunter – Los Angeles Chargers (N)

CFL rights holder: Toronto Argonauts

The native of North Bay, Ont. spent the 2020 season on the practice roster with the Los Angeles Chargers following a two-year stint with the Kansas City Chiefs. He has appeared in three career NFL games at guard.

REC Dontrelle Inman – Free Agent (A)

CFL rights holder: None

The former Argonaut caught 18 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns last season in ten games with the Washington Football Team. Now 32, Inman may go unsigned until a team faces injuries in training camp.

OL Alaric Jackson – Los Angeles Rams (N)

CFL rights holder: B.C. Lions

The four-year starter at Iowa went unselected in the 2021 NFL Draft but signed with the Rams as a priority free agent. He’s expected to compete at guard in training camp, though the Lions are hoping he’ll come north soon after selecting him at No. 15 in the 2021 CFL Draft.

REC Rysen John – New York Giants (N)

CFL rights holder: Calgary Stampeders

The Simon Fraser product spent the latter half of the 2020 NFL season on the practice roster with the Giants. He’ll look to make the active roster in his second pro season, which could be likely considering New York did not draft a tight end in April.

OL Brett Jones – Denver Broncos (N)

CFL rights holder: None

The 30-year-old appeared in 15 games with Minnesota last season, starting two. The former CFL Most Outstanding Rookie and Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman signed with the Broncos in July following a six-year stint with the Giants and Vikings.

TE Bruno Labelle – Arizona Cardinals (N)

CFL rights holder: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The six-foot-four, 250-pound blocker went unselected in the 2021 NFL Draft but was signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted free agent. He wasn’t used as a receiver much at the University of Cincinnati but has soft hands and solid speed.

LS L. P. Ladouceur – Free Agent (N)

CFL rights holder: None

The Montreal native wasn’t retained following the 2020 season, ending a record-breaking streak of 253 consecutive games played for the Cowboys. Now 40, it’s likely that Ladouceur is headed towards retirement.

OL Pier-Olivier Lestage – Seattle Seahawks (N)

CFL rights holder: Montreal Alouettes

The native of Saint-Eustache, Que. went unselected in the 2021 NFL Draft but was signed by the Seahawks as a priority free agent. He’ll be looking to make the team as a centre or guard, which may not be too difficult considering how badly the Seahawks need help along the offensive line.

K/P Ty Long – Los Angeles Chargers (A)

CFL rights holder: None

The two-time CFL all-star had another strong season on the west coast in 2020, averaging 64 yards on 81 kickoffs and 46.8 yards on 57 punts. He’s enjoyed a solid two-year stint with the Chargers since his time with the B.C. Lions.

K/P Brett Maher – New Orleans Saints (A)

CFL rights holder: None

The 31-year-old was in training camp with the New York Jets in 2020 before stints with the Washington Football Team, Houston Texans, and Arizona Cardinals. He recently signed with the Saints as veteran placekicker Wil Lutz rehabs an injury.

Photo courtesy: Philadelphia Eagles

REC Marken Michel – Philadelphia Eagles (A)

CFL rights holder: None

The former Stampeder was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles in April 2020 but caught on with the Panthers in August. He spent most of the season on the practice roster but dressed for two games before returning to the Eagles via waiver claim.

DB Derrick Moncrief – Free Agent (A)

CFL rights holder: None

The former Roughrider and CFL all-star was waived by the Los Angeles Rams on Monday. He spent most of the 2020 season on their practice roster but dressed for one game, playing 15 snaps on special teams.

OL Carter O’Donnell – Indianapolis Colts (N)

CFL rights holder: Montreal Alouettes

The University of Alberta product spent all of last season on the practice roster in Indianapolis after going unselected in the 2020 NFL Draft. He’ll look to take on a larger role in his second year after having time to develop his frame and skills.

LB Amen Ogbongbemiga – Los Angeles Chargers (N)

CFL rights holder: Calgary Stampeders

The two-time All-Big 12 Football Second Team selection signed with the Chargers after going unselected in the 2021 NFL Draft. A standout at Oklahoma State, Ogbongbemiga will be looking to earn a major role on special teams while serving as a depth linebacker.

DL David Onyemata – New Orleans Saints (N)

CFL rights holder: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The University of Manitoba product had his best season as a professional in 2020, recording 44 total tackles, ten tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, two knockdowns, and one interception. He is living up to the three-year, $27 million USD extension he signed in March 2020, though he’ll start the 2021 on the suspended list.

REC Josh Palmer – Los Angeles Chargers (N)

CFL rights holder: None

The native of Brampton, Ont. was a third-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft following a stellar showing at the Senior Bowl. The deep threat could take on a major role in LA’s aerial attack as a rookie considering the strong play of second-year quarterback Justin Herbert in 2020.

Photo courtesy: Nate Holley

DB Tre Roberson – Chicago Bears (A)

CFL rights holder: None

The former West Division all-star signed a two-year contract with the Bears in January 2020, which included a $75,000 USD signing bonus. He suffered a broken foot while training and missed the entire season but is now healthy and ready to compete for a roster spot.

DB Winston Rose – Cincinnati Bengals (A)

CFL rights holder: None

The former CFL all-star spent the 2020 season between the practice and active rosters in Cincinnati and remains under contract for 2021. He’ll look to earn a more consistent role in the secondary, which could happen considering the Bengals did not draft a defensive back in April.

OL Dakoda Shepley – San Francisco 49ers (N)

CFL rights holder: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Shepley signed with the 49ers and played his first live NFL snaps in Week 15 last season. The front office in San Fran took a liking to the former Riders offensive lineman.

DL Nathan Shepherd – New York Jets (N)

CFL rights holder: Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The 27-year-old appeared in fourteen games in 2020, making three starts at defensive tackle. He recorded new career-highs in combined tackles (17), quarterback hits (eight), and sacks (2.5) and is set to become a free agent after the 2021 season.

LB Alex Singleton – Philadelphia Eagles (N)

CFL rights holder: None

The two-time CFL all-star earned a starting role with the Eagles in 2020, recording 120 total tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks, two fumble recoveries, and one interception. He’s expected to remain a starter in 2021 after signing a one-year exclusive-rights free agent tender.

REC Diontae Spencer – Denver Broncos (A)

CFL rights holder: None

The 29-year-old scored his first NFL touchdown last season on an 83-yard return against the Carolina Panthers. He finished the year with 16 punt returns for 253 yards and 15 kickoff returns for 281 yards.

Photo courtesy: Washington Football Team

DB Benjamin St-Juste – Washington Football Team (N)

CFL rights holder: Toronto Argonauts

The Montreal native was a third-round selection of the Washington Football Team in the 2021 NFL Draft and should compete for a starting spot right away. At six-foot-three and 205 pounds, St-Juste has a rare combination of size and speed for the cornerback position.

QB Chris Streveler – Arizona Cardinals (A)

CFL rights holder: None

The 26-year-old got into five games as Kyler Murray’s backup in 2020, passing for 105 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. The Cardinals signed journeyman Colt McCoy to a one-year, $1.25 million USD contract in free agency, which will provide Streveler with competition in training camp.

DL Brent Urban – Dallas Cowboys (N)

CFL rights holder: Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The seven-year veteran from Mississauga, Ont. signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys worth $1.75 million USD. He spent last season with the Chicago Bears, recording 36 total tackles, two tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and one knockdown in sixteen regular season games.

OL Greg Van Roten – New York Jets (A)

CFL rights holder: None

The former Argonaut started at right guard in the first of a three-year deal worth $10.5-million USD with the Jets in 2020. He’ll be tasked with blocking for Zach Wilson, who was selected No. 2 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft to become New York’s new face of the franchise.

DL James Vaughters – Chicago Bears (A)

CFL rights holder: None

The former Stampeder spent set new career-highs in his second season with the Bears, recording 22 total tackles, two tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks in fourteen games. He re-signed with the team in March and will look to take on a larger role in the defence.

REC D’haquille ‘Duke’ Williams – Buffalo Bills (A)

CFL rights holder: None

The former CFL all-star spent virtually the entire 2020 season on Buffalo’s practice roster, dressing for only one game. Now 28, this could be a make-or-break season for Williams as he looks to establish himself as a mainstay on an NFL active roster.

TE Luke Willson – Free Agent (N)

CFL rights holder: Toronto Argonauts

The 31-year-old spent the 2020 season between the Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks, dressing for eight regular season games. He recorded the lowest receiving production of his career with just one reception and remains unsigned for the 2021 season.

DL Justin Zimmer – Buffalo Bills (A)

The six-foot-three, 305-pound defender appeared in twelve games with the Bills in 2020, recording 21 total tackles, three tackles for loss, one sacks, and one forced fumble. He dressed for one game with the Alouettes in 2017 and made three tackles and a sack.

Photo courtesy: Carolina Panthers

REC Brandon Zylstra – Carolina Panthers (A)

CFL rights holder: None

The 28-year-old dressed for all sixteen regular season games with the Panthers in 2020, making three receptions for 35 yards. He scored his first touchdown on special teams, returning a fumble recovery for a score against the Washington Football Team.

*‘N’ denotes national, ‘A’ denotes American

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