The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have released Canadian defensive end Jonathan Kongbo in order to allow him to further pursue an NFL agreement.
Kongbo played all 14 regular season games during the shortened 2021 CFL season, recording 16 tackles, three sacks and one special teams tackle. He made three tackles and one sack in the West Final against Saskatchewan and helped Winnipeg win their second consecutive Grey Cup title in the 108th edition in Hamilton.
The 25-year-old was selected No. 5 overall in the 2019 CFL Draft by the Bombers following a standout career at the University of Tennessee. Once thought to be a surefire NFL Draft pick, Kongbo suffered a torn ACL that lowered his stock south of the border as he worked back to full health.
Kongbo joined Winnipeg in May 2019 and continued to rehabilitate his knee injury for the first third of the season. He eventually made his professional debut on August 1 that year against the Toronto Argonauts.
The six-foot-five, 255-pound defender appeared in 12 regular season games as a rookie, recording 12 tackles and one sack. He rotated along the defensive line during the post-season and recorded two tackles and one sack against the Roughriders in the West Final.
Kongbo was released after the 107th Grey Cup victory to pursue NFL opportunities and signed with the San Francisco 49ers. He was waived on August 27, 2020 with an injury designation, released with an injury settlement the following week.
Coming out of Holy Cross High School in B.C. as a three-sport athlete, Kongbo accepted a scholarship to the University of Wyoming. He redshirted during the 2014 season and then transferred to Arizona Western college.
After gaining a reputation as the No. 1 junior college defensive line prospect while in Arizona, Kongbo received scholarships offers from Alabama, Oregon, Oklahoma, USC, Florida State, Washington, Ole Miss and Tennessee.
Kongbo played 30 games with 17 starts over three seasons with the Volunteers in the SEC as a linebacker and defensive lineman, recording 51 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions.