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CFL all-star Derek Dennis to end his career a Calgary Stampeder in 2023

Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros, left, passes as Michael Couture (59) and Drew Desjarlais (61) hold off B.C. Lions' J.R. Tavai (10) during the first half of a CFL football game in Vancouver, on Friday, October 1, 2021. The Ottawa Redblacks signed Canadian offensive lineman Desjarlais to a two-year contract Monday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

OTTAWA — CFL all-star offensive lineman Derek Dennis intends to end his career as a Calgary Stampeder after re-signing with the football club for 2023.

Dennis, 34, was eligible for free agency Feb. 14.

He was a division and CFL all-star in 2022 when he started 14 games at left tackle for Calgary.

Dennis suffered a season-ending leg cracked fibula in September during a game against the B.C. Lions.

“I’m still in rehab improving daily trying to prepare myself for my best and final season,” Dennis said Monday in statement released by the Stampeders.

The Temple alumnus was part of an offensive line that allowed a league-low 17 sacks, as well as help the Stampeders lead the league in average rushing yards per game with 135.3, and running back Ka'Deem Carey win the season's rushing title.

"Derek continues to play at a high level," Stampeders general manager and head coach Dave Dickenson said.

"He’s a vital part of our success and we look forward to him playing championship football for the Calgary Stampeders in 2023.”

Dennis has played 78 of his 95 career regular-season games with the Stampeders over three separate stints.

He was named the CFL's most outstanding offensive lineman in 2016 and won a Grey Cup with Calgary in 2018.

The Stampeders also announced Monday a contract extension for American linebacker Silas Stewart.

“Silas is one of our young players who we’re looking forward to seeing make a big impact in 2023,” Dickenson said.

Stewart, 27, played in 18 regular-season games with three starts at middle linebacker.

He had a team-high 20 special-teams tackles while registering 35 defensive tackles, one sack, two knockdowns, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

In 30 career regular-season games, Stewart has compiled 42 tackles, 29 special-teams tackles, two knockdowns, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.


Redblacks and Canadian OL Drew Desjarlais agree to two-year contract

OTTAWA — Canadian offensive lineman Drew Desjarlais has returned to the CFL as an Ottawa Redblack.

The 25-year-old from Belle River, Ont., signed a two-year deal with Ottawa after spending last season with the NFL's New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints. 

Desjarlais was drafted in the first round, No. 4 overall, by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 2019 CFL draft out of Windsor

He was a member of two Grey Cup-winning teams with Winnipeg and was a West Division all-star in 2021.

"I am extremely excited to join the Ottawa Redblacks and to start playing at TD Place in front of the dedicated fans," Desjarlais said in a statement. 

"I’m looking forward to working alongside a great group of teammates, and after speaking with Coach Dyce, Shawn Burke, Coach Charbonneau and Coach Jones, it was clear that there is a great plan for this team and I wanted to be a part of it."

Desjarlais started in all but eight games during his rookie season and every contest in his second.

"We believe in building our team in the trenches and bringing in Drew Desjarlais underscores that philosophy," said Burke, Ottawa's GM. "Drew is an all-star calibre guard who will add skill, strength and youth to our offensive line. 

"We thank Drew for his belief in our program and we're excited that he's chosen to make Ottawa home." 


Lions re-sign Canadian offensive lineman David Knevel

VANCOUVER — Canadian offensive lineman David Knevel has signed a contract extension with the B.C. Lions.

Knevel was eligible to become a free agent Feb. 14.

He missed all of last season after undergoing shoulder surgery.

The six-foot-eight 325-pound native of Brantford, Ont., appeared in all 14 regular-season contests in 2021, seeing action at both guard and tackle. 

B.C. selected Knevel in the third round, No 21 overall, in the 2018 CFL draft out of Nebraska.

 This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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