Stove off: B.C. Lions don’t expect DT Steven Richardson to play in 2023 following Achilles injuries

Photo: Nik Kowalski/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

The B.C. Lions do not expect American defensive tackle Steven Richardson to play for the team in 2023 after missing all of last season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

“I don’t think so,” Leos co-general manager Neil McEvoy told 3DownNation. “He’s still on our roster, he’s a guy that we still talk to. He hasn’t made his decision. It’s a tough injury.”

Richardson was a prized free agent addition by the Lions last offseason, signing a two-year contract with the team. He suffered the injury during a workout session in April and renegotiated his deal, extending an extra year through 2024 while moving more of his money into playtime incentives.

After rehabbing the injury at home, Richardson reported to the Lions in October and was on track to return for the playoffs. The 27-year-old suffered a serious setback shortly after and was ruled out for the remainder of the season, sparking speculation that his career could be over.

“Let’s be honest, it’s a tough injury the first time, let alone the second,” McEvoy said. “I don’t want to speak for him but he’s still a B.C. Lion. He has a tough road to go but whatever decision he makes, we will honour whatever he wants to do.”

Nicknamed “Stove,” the five-foot-eleven, 304-pound defensive tackle entered the CFL with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2019 and spent two seasons with the club. The University of Minnesota product recorded 38 defensive tackles, six sacks and one forced fumble in 25 regular season games while winning two Grey Cups.

If he opts to play in 2023, Richardson is scheduled to earn $98,000 in hard money, plus a $30,000 bonus following his first snap of the season. He’ll get another $1,667 for every game he starts and plays more than 51 percent of all defensive plays, with the maximum value of the contract settling at $163,000. The terms of the deal are identical in the final year of his contract.

The Lions recently extended fellow American defensive tackles Woody Baron, who also missed much of last season with an injury, and Josh Banks to contract extensions through 2024. Canadian rookie Nathan Cherry and Global contributor Tibo Debaillie both remain under contract.

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.