Saskatchewan Roughriders release 22, including RB Kienan LaFrance

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders/Derek Mortensen

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have released 22 players as part of their transactions ahead of the CFL’s cutdown deadline.

The offensive players released include American running backs B.J. Emmons, Javian Hawkins, and Rodney Smith, Canadian running back Kienan LaFrance, American receivers Keith Corbin III, Isaiah McKoy, and Randy Satterfield, American offensive linemen Adonis Boone, Phil Saleh, and Tre’Mond Shorts, and Canadian offensive lineman Diego Alatorre Montoya.

The most notable name is LaFrance, who had been a member of the team since 2019. Last season, he recorded nine carries for 39 yards, five receptions for 28 yards, and four special teams tackles. Through seven seasons in the CFL as a member of the Ottawa Redblacks, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and Riders, the 32-year-old has rushed for 165 carries for 681 yards and four touchdowns, caught 49 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns, and made 40 special teams tackles.

The defensive and special teams players released include American defensive linemen Stefen Banks, Jerry Garner Jr., and Keshaun Moore, American linebackers Kyrei Fisher-Morris, Kolby Harvell-Peel, and Ryan Henry, American defensive backs Devin Jones, Leon O’Neal Jr., and La’Andre Thomas, Canadian defensive back Kosi Onyeka, and Canadian kicker David Solie.

Banks is the most notable name as he was expected to take on a starting role with the team after joining them in free agency. The six-foot-one, 260-pound edge rusher spent the last two seasons as a member of the Calgary Stampeders and recorded 36 defensive tackles, three special teams tackles, eight sacks, and one forced fumble over 23 games.

The club also added 11 players to the practice roster, including American receivers Kalija Lipscomb and Kendall Watson, American offensive lineman Brandon Council, Canadian offensive lineman Zack Fry, American defensive linemen Christian Albright and Cody Roscoe, American linebacker T.J. Brunson, Canadian linebacker Matt Dean, Global linebacker Lukas Ruoss, and American defensive backs Rodney Clemons and Deontai Williams.

Three selections for the 2023 CFL Draft, fullback Morgan Runge, offensive lineman Evan Floren, and linebacker Nick Thomas, will return to school for another year of U Sports eligibility and have been placed on the suspended list. Saskatchewan also signed veteran offensive lineman Colin Kelly following a stint in the XFL.

The Riders (0-0) will open the regular season on Sunday, June 11 against the Edmonton Elks. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. EDT at Commonwealth Stadium.