Chris Jones high on Edmonton Elks’ RB duo of Kevin Brown, Shannon Brooks

Photo courtesy: Edmonton Elks

The Edmonton Elks could have one of the CFL’s most dangerous backfields in 2023 following the emergence of rookie running back Shannon Brooks.

“He’s a violent runner, it’s exactly what we saw on film. He’s not one of these track guys that’s gonna go out there and run a 4.3-(second) forty-(yard dash) but when you hand him the football, he’s playing as fast or faster than everybody on the field,” head coach and general manager Chris Jones told the media in Edmonton.

“He doesn’t mind contact, he can run through arm tackles and put you in second manageable or second short when he touches the football.”

The five-foot-eleven, 200-pound ball-carrier stood out in both of Edmonton’s preseason games, rushing 24 times for 144 yards and catching six passes for 27 yards. Though it’s unlikely that he will take the starting role from Kevin Brown, who became the league’s fifth-highest-paid running back after his emergence last season, it sounds as though the Elks will use the pair in a tandem role.

“It’s a pretty good combination between those two,” said Jones. “It’s just like baseball. You’ve gotta have your starter and then you’ve gotta have a guy that comes in when that guy’s a little bit tired in the fourth (quarter) that’s got fresh legs, that is dying to get in there and touch the ball and they can secure the football and get you the extra yard.”

The Elks released 18 players after their second and final preseason game this past weekend, including four running backs. Brown and Brooks are the only two remaining ball-carriers on the roster, so it appears they have both earned spots for the upcoming season.

The CFL’s other eight teams have yet to play their final preseason games, which are scheduled for Thursday, June 1 and Friday, June 2. All nine clubs need to finalize their rosters following training camp with the Elks having a few more cuts to make ahead of the regular season.

“We have about eight more that we have do,” said Jones. “Some guys were injured after the game, so it didn’t make a lot of sense for me to release a guy that we’re going to bring right back if somebody was hurt for an extended period of time, so we’ve got certainly some good battles going back to these next two days.”

Edmonton will open their regular season at home against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday, June 11 with kickoff slated for 7:00 p.m. EDT.