Edmonton Elks place Canadian LB Kevin Francis on suspended list

Photo: Paul Yates/B.C. Lions

The Edmonton Elks have placed veteran Canadian linebacker Kevin Francis on the suspended list.

The six-foot-five, 210-pound defender asked to be traded or released from the team in March due to a contract dispute, which clearly remains unresolved.

“That’s exactly why he’s not here. He unfortunately was upset and so we’ve just gotta move on and worry about the guys that are here,” head coach and general manager Chris Jones told the media in Edmonton. “He’s an awfully good player and we would certainly like to have him.”

Francis signed with the Elks in free agency back in February after spending the 2022 season with the B.C. Lions. He has appeared in 82 CFL regular season games over his six-year career, with three different teams, spending the 2016-2018 and 2021 seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the 2019 season with the Ottawa Redblacks.

The 29-year-old special teams ace has recorded 61 special teams tackles in his six-year CFL career, including a career-high 22 last year with the Lions. The Toronto, Ontario native has also recorded with 18 defensive tackles and two forced fumbles.

The Elks also signed American running back Mekhai Johnson, released Canadian receiver Gabriel Appiah-Kubi and American offensive lineman Martez Ivey on the suspended list. Jones indicated that Ivey was unable to travel due to an issue with his passport, though he should still report to training camp.

Johnson was released by the team on May 13 following the completion of rookie camp. The five-foot-11, 200-pound Dorchester, Massachusetts native rushed for 635 yards and eight touchdowns in his final collegiate season at Tusculum University in 2022.

Ivey suited up for 15 games with the Elks in the 2022 CFL season. The University of Florida product began his CFL career in 2021 with the Toronto Argonauts.