Ottawa Redblacks release veteran strong-side linebacker Patrick Levels

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

The Ottawa Redblacks have released American strong-side linebacker Patrick Levels, sending a strong message just three days into training camp.

The 28-year-old veteran was productive in the 13 games he played for Ottawa in 2022, making 59 tackles, four sacks, and one forced fumble, but the Redblacks spoke all off-season about how there would be open competition across the board.

Ottawa has 21 players competing for six spots in the secondary, including the hybrid defensive back spot at strong-side linebacker.

Douglas Coleman, who made two starts at the position in 2022, and Hakeem Bailey were effective in rotational duties last season and could be ready to take on larger roles. Another player to keep an eye on is four-year veteran Damon Webb. All three defenders have the right combination of speed, coverage skills, blitzing ability, and physicality necessary to play strong-side linebacker.

Levels broke into the CFL as a member of the Calgary Stampeders in 2017, spending two seasons with the club. In 2019, he signed with the Montreal Alouettes in free agency and established himself as an impact player over the next two years, making 128 tackles, eight sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles, and one defensive touchdown in 30 games.

Although cutting a veteran this early in training camp isn’t common, it reiterates that past production doesn’t matter and the slate is clean for those looking to impress now.

Santino Filoso is originally from Ottawa and has written about the Redblacks since 2013. He is the only CFL writer currently living in Brazil (as far as we know).