Riders acquire kick returner Mario Alford via trade from Montreal Alouettes

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have acquired American receiver and kick returner Mario Alford via trade from the Montreal Alouettes. The Als received a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2023 CFL Draft in return, which will be upgraded to a fifth-round pick if Alford plays nine games with the Riders this season.

Alford has spent the past three weeks on Montreal’s one-game injured list. Former Toronto Argonauts’ receiver and kick returner Chandler Worthy has returned kickoffs for touchdowns in back-to-back games and appears to have won the job on a permanent basis.

“We are not necessarily happy to let Mario go,” said Alouettes’ general manager Danny Maciocia in a statement. “He has served us well during his stay and we wish him the best of luck with his new team.”

The five-foot-nine, 182-pounder signed with the Alouettes in September 2019 and played nine games with the team over two seasons. He returned 26 punts for 486 yards and three touchdowns and added nine kickoff returns for 477 yards.

Prior to the Alouettes, he played six games for the Toronto Argonauts and made seven catches for 57 yards and returned eight kickoffs for 170 yards.

Alford was selected in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He played one game for the Bengals as a rookie before moving on to spend time with the New York Jets, Chicago Bears, and Cleveland Browns. Alford played in three games as a returner for the Browns, returning eight punts for 68 yards and eight kickoffs for 258 yards.

The Georgia native played two seasons at West Virginia (2013-14) and suited up for 22 games as a Mountaineer. He caught 92 career passes for 1,497 yards and 13 receiving touchdowns and returned 37 kickoffs for 972 yards and two touchdowns.

In 2014, he led the entire NCAA in return touchdowns with two and led the Big-12 in receiving touchdowns with 11. Prior to attending West Virginia, Alford was a running back with the Georgia Military Bulldogs (2011-12) and in his second season led the team with 541 yards rushing and six touchdowns.