Stampeders defensive end Shawn Lemon has reached an important statistical milestone, claiming his place among the top 25 most prolific sack artists in CFL history with a takedown of Ottawa’s Caleb Evans on Friday.
According to Stamps PR man Jean Lefebvre, that sack was the 77th of Lemon’s career. That leaves him tied with Daved Benefield, Hall of Famer Leroy Blugh, and Shont’e Peoples inside the top 25.
The CFL career sack record is held by Grover Covington with 157. The only active player with more than Lemon is Toronto Argonauts defensive end Charleston Hughes with 132.
Lemon signed with the Stamps just prior to the start of the regular season after he 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.
Despite the 10-year CFL veterans consistent production, Elks general manager Brock Sunderland felt Lemon was “outplayed” by younger players like Canadians Kwaku Boateng and 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.
Since signing with the Stampeders, Lemon has recorded seven sacks. Boateng has just two, while Betts has none.
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.
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.
His performance with Calgary that 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. That has clearly continued in 2021.