Backup QB Nick Arbuckle to miss Redblacks’ Week 8 game due to ‘illness’

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

The Ottawa Redblacks will be without the services of backup quarterback Nick Arbuckle when they take on the Toronto Argonauts on Sunday.

Arbuckle was not listed on the team’s official depth chart and has been ruled out due to “illness,” according to a report from Postmedia’s Tim Baines. The nature of the illness has not been disclosed.

The Redblacks listed three players on the injury report with illness this week, a catch-all definition that includes everything from food poisoning to COVID-19. Deshawn Stevens, Hunter Steward and Jackson Bennett were all full participants by the end of the week and will be playing in the game, while Arbuckle appears to have caught whatever bug he is suffering from before the walkthrough.

Rookie Tyrie Adams will draw into the lineup in his place.

The Redblacks acquired Arbuckle via trade from the Edmonton Elks on July 11 in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2023 CFL Draft. He did not dress for the team’s Week 6 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and made his debut against Montreal last week, completing one pass for 47 yards.

Arbuckle dressed for five games with Edmonton this season, completing 64.3 percent of his passes for 892 yards, two touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He won the starting job out of training camp but was demoted to a backup role in Week 4 following the promotion of Canadian quarterback Tre Ford.

The six-foot-one, 213-pound passer played seven games as a member of the Toronto Argonauts in 2021 before being traded to Edmonton. He completed 62.7 percent of his passes with the Argos for 1,158 yards, five touchdowns, and six interceptions.

Arbuckle was traded to Ottawa in January 2020 but never dressed for the team due to the cancellation of the CFL season. He was released by the team in February 2021 when the two sides were unable to restructure his contract.

The Redblacks have lost franchise quarterback Jeremiah Masoli for the next two to three months following an illegal hit by Saskatchewan Roughriders’ defensive lineman Garrett Marino. Second-year pivot Caleb Evans has taken over the top job and performed well, but head coach Paul LaPolice said this week that he is still trying to decide who should be the starter going forward after Arbuckle was acquired as valuable insurance.

The Georgia State product signed his first CFL contract with the Calgary Stampeders in March 2017, though he played sparingly until 2019 when he threw for 2,103 yards, 11 touchdowns, and five interceptions while Bo Levi Mitchell missed time due to injury.