Veteran pass rusher Shawn Lemon returns to Stampeders starting lineup

The Calgary Stampeders have reinserted defensive end Shawn Lemon into the starting lineup.

Lemon missed the Stamps Week 12 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The 33-year-old has played nine games in 2021, recording 23 defensive tackles, six sacks and forced one fumble. He’s currently tied for the third-most sacks in the league.

Arguably his best CFL season occurred in 2014 as a member of the Stamps. He recorded 13 sacks and eight forced fumbles that year — helping the team set a CFL record in that category — and won the 102nd Grey Cup with the Stamps.

Lemon was released by the Edmonton Elks in July, among the most surprising casualties ahead of the CFL’s roster cutdown deadline. He had signed a one-year contract with the Elks in February.

The 10-year CFL veteran has 76 sacks and 23 forced fumbles over his 116-game career, but Elks general manager Brock Sunderland felt Lemon was “outplayed” by younger players like Canadian Mathieu Betts. Earlier in camp, head coach Jaime Elizondo had called out Lemon for not putting forward the same consistent effort as the 2019 third-overall CFL Draft pick.

The University of Akron product began his career with brief stints in Winnipeg and Saskatchewan, before establishing himself with Edmonton in 2012. During that season, Lemon recorded six sacks in 12 games.

His performance with Calgary the next year drew interest from the NFL and Lemon spent the first half of 2015 as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Francisco 49ers. Lemon returned to the CFL mid-way through the 2015 season, signing with the Ottawa Redblacks. He would record six sacks in his abbreviated nine-game season.

Lemon was named a CFL East all-star in 2016 as a member of the Toronto Argonauts. During that season, he recorded 14 sacks, 22 defensive tackles, and four forced fumbles.

He has been a consistent threat to quarterbacks in recent years, recording seasons of 14, 8, 11, and 9 sacks over the last four seasons split between the B.C. Lions and Argos.

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