Former Bombers’ SAM linebacker Donald Rutledge Jr. signs with USFL’s Houston Gamblers

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Former Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ strong-side linebacker Donald Rutledge Jr. has signed with the USFL’s Houston Gamblers.

The six-foot-one, 215-pound defender started all 16 games he played in 2022, but was relegated to the practice roster to end the season. As such, Rutledge automatically became a free agent following the Grey Cup and was able to depart the CFL for a spring league opportunity south of the border.

The 25-year-old amassed 58 defensive tackles, two special teams tackles, two sacks, an interception and a forced fumble in his rookie season with Winnipeg. He previously spent time with the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals but failed to make either team’s active roster.

Rutledge began his college career at The Citadel before transferring to Savannah State, where he spent the next three years playing safety. He played his final collegiate season at Georgia Southern, registering 50 tackles, five pass breakups and an interception in nine games.

The 2023 USFL season is scheduled to kick off on April 15.