Chicago Bears work out four CFL players, including Redblacks’ returner DeVonte Dedmon

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

The Chicago Bears hosted a workout today involving four offensive CFL players, per sources: Ottawa Redblacks’ receiver and return specialist DeVonte Dedmon, Edmonton Elks’ quarterback Taylor Cornelius, Calgary Stampeders’ receiver and return specialist Malik Henry, and Saskatchewan Roughriders’ receiver Brayden Lenius.

Dedmon was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player in 2021 after recording 48 punt returns for 737 yards and two touchdowns, 11 kickoff returns for 1,223 yards and one touchdown, and four missed field goals for 103 yards. Per source, this was the first of a number of NFL workouts for Dedmon.

The 26-year-old shattered the record set by Canadian Football Hall of Fame return specialist Henry ‘Gizmo’ Williams as the fastest player to reach five career return touchdowns. Dedmon needed just 15 games, while Williams needed 18.

Photo courtesy: Edmonton Elks

Cornelius took over as the starter midway through the 2021 season in Edmonton and finished the year completing 57.9 percent of his passes for 1,795 yards, nine touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. The 26-year-old was in rookie camp with the Green Bay Packers in 2019 but did not see action before moving to the XFL in 2020.

Henry signed with the Stampeders in January 2021 and dressed for nine games as a rookie, making eleven receptions for 124 yards and two touchdowns. He also had some success as a return specialist, bringing back 38 punts for 435 yards, 21 kickoffs for 513 yards, and one missed field goal for 19 yards.

Lenius worked out for the San Francisco 49ers last week and is believed to have more NFL workouts on the horizon. He started all fourteen for the Riders in 2021 at slotback, making 37 receptions for 471 yards and four touchdowns. He also started the West Semi-Final vs. Calgary and West Final at Winnipeg, making six receptions for 43 yards.

The Regina native was a second-round pick in the 2019 CFL Draft out of the University of New Mexico, though he had previously played at the University of Washington. He played a hybrid tight end/H-back role in 2019 but lost almost 30 pounds during the CFL’s extended 2020 off-season to play slotback in 2021.

Lenius is a pending free agent, though Dedmon, Cornelius, and Henry are not. The NFL option window opened on Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 and will remain open until 12:01 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. CFL players are able to work out for NFL teams during this period even if they are under contract with a team north of the border.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.