Edmonton Elks release defensive lineman Kony Ealy

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The Edmonton Elks have released veteran defensive lineman Kony Ealy, who was a pending free agent.

The 31-year-old dressed for 15 games this past season and made 14 starts at defensive end and defensive tackle, recording 18 tackles and four sacks. He joined the team as a free agent in 2022 and made eight tackles and two sacks over six games with the club that year.

The six-foot-four, 275-pound defender was originally selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers out of the University of Missouri. He spent three seasons in Carolina and made 90 tackles, 15 sacks, six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and two interceptions in 62 games, helping the Panthers reach Super Bowl 50. Ealy played well in the game, tying a Super Bowl record with three sacks.

The native of Morganton, N.C. was traded to the New England Patriots in 2017 but waived at the end of his first training camp with the team. He claimed off waivers by the New York Jets and played in 15 games for the club that season, making 14 tackles, one sack, and one interception.

Ealy spent time with the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders in 2018, recording two defensive tackles over three games with the latter. He played in the XFL in 2020 before coming to the CFL as a member of the Toronto Argonauts in 2021.

The Elks finished their season this past weekend with a 45-25 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, dropping their regular season record to 4-14 for the second straight year.