Late kick returner Christian Saulsberry has received the Edmonton Elks’ inaugural fan favourite award, the club announced on Tuesday.
The five-foot-eight, 188-pounder was shot and killed in Memphis, Tenn. on Dec. 17, 2022 at the age of 25. Mark McDaniel, a 24-year-old Memphis resident, has since been arrested and charged with second degree murder.
Saulsberry 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 kick returner.
The native of Southaven, Miss. 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 despite playing only eight games during the 2022 season.
“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 following Saulsberry’s passing.
“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.”
Edmonton also announced that running back Kevin Brown was given the play of the year award, defensive back Aaron Grymes was given the social media star award, and running back Ante Milanovic-Litre was given the unsung hero award. The winners of each award were determined through a fan vote conducted online.