CFL’s highest-paid OL Mark Korte missing Elks’ home-opener to attend his own wedding

Photo courtesy: Edmonton Elks

The Edmonton Elks will be without starting right guard Mark Korte for the team’s home-opener on Saturday, as the 25-year-old offseason acquisition will be getting married instead.

Korte was added to Edmonton’s one-game injured list on Friday but was not listed on the team’s injury report this week. Sources have confirmed to 3DownNation that the offensive lineman’s absence is due to a scheduling conflict with his wedding, which is slated to begin at 3:00 p.m. local time in Stony Plain, Alberta.

The Elks are scheduled to kick off their game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at 7:30 p.m., midway through Korte’s reception dinner according to a website created for the wedding ceremony. According to people close to the situation, the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic made scheduling the ceremony challenging, prompting Korte to miss the game.

Healthy players can be legally placed on the one-game injured list because their salaries continue to count against the team’s cap. Edmonton’s decision not to suspend the Spruce Grove native means he will not lose any salary while attending his wedding.

Korte’s choice to miss the home-opener in favour of his nuptials has drawn the ire of several prominent former CFL players on social media, including centre Justin Sorensen, fullback Calvin McCarty, kicker Chris Milo, guard Andrew Jones, safety Jeff Hecht, defensive tackle Eddie Steele, and kicker Grant Shaw.

The Edmonton Elks issued the following statement to 3DownNation: “Mark is getting married today. We wish him and his soon-to-be wife well on such an important day. We look forward to Mark rejoining the team when we resume practice next week.”

The Elks signed Korte to a two-year contract in free agency worth $210,000 in hard money in 2022, making the local product the highest-paid offensive lineman in the CFL. A former first-round pick of the Ottawa Redblacks in the 2018 CFL Draft, Korte has played 49 games in his pro career, primarily at centre and left tackle, before moving to right guard with Edmonton.

The University of Alberta product was named the top lineman in the Canada West in 2017 and was a key blocker for running back Ed Ilnicki, who won the Hec Crighton Trophy after rushing for 1,468 yards with the Golden Bears.

Edmonton’s 2020 first-round pick Tomas Jack-Kurdyla will start in place of Korte against Saskatchewan. The Elks are looking to recover from a 59-15 blowout loss to the B.C. Lions a week ago.

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.