Edmonton Elks’ returner Christian Saulsberry passes away at age 25

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Edmonton Elks’ return specialist Christian Saulsberry has passed away at the age of 25 after being shot in Memphis, Tenn.

“First and foremost, our hearts go out to his family during this incredibly difficult time. Our condolences are also extended to his friends, including the many teammates and coaches both here in Edmonton and elsewhere, that he impacted throughout his football career,” the Elks wrote in a statement.

“Christian’s contributions to our football team both on the field and in our locker room were significant during his one season with the Green and Gold. His positivity and energy for life will be dearly missed.”

The native of Southaven, Miss. signed with Edmonton in May 2022 and was cut at the end of training camp. He joined the team’s practice roster in mid-August and was added to the roster two weeks later before becoming the club’s primary return specialist.

Saulsberry dressed for eight games with the Elks and recorded 19 punt returns for 235 yards, 34 kickoff returns for 635 yards, three missed field goal returns for 78 yards, one carry for seven yards, and one reception for 17 yards. He finished 26th league-wide in combined yardage this past season despite playing only eight games.

The five-foot-eight, 188-pound speedster recently posted a video to his Twitter page chronicling his journey to the CFL.

Saulsberry played two seasons at West Alabama in 2018 and 2019 and was named All-Gulf South Conference in both years. He led the Tigers with 1,223 all-purpose yards as a senior, including a team-high 23 kickoff returns for 614 yards. He previously played at Itawamba Community College where he made 41 receptions for 510 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore in 2017.