CFL: BC Lions
As the celebrations of the sixth CFL championship in B.C. Lions history starts to slowly fade away, the team’s management has made a number of roster moves over the past two weeks. Some are minor, while others have more significant implications for the future of the team.
The most impactful moves are discussed here.
Angus Reid re-signed: This was a key move for the Lions, and especially new coach Mike Benevides. Both the player Reid and the coach Benevides have spent over a decade with the team and their comfort level with each other will aid in the coaching transition. Centre is also the key position to the chemistry of the offensive line and while Reid is aging at 35, he was still an all-star last season.
As a BC born and bred player, he also maintains a strong relationship with the local support.
Khalif Mitchell re-signed: This agreement was a very pleasant surprise for the Lions. Mitchell is an imposing 6’-5” starting defensive tackle with relevant strength and pass rushing speed, in the prime of his career at only 26 years old. He was offered an NFL contract with Miami, but turned it down to return to BC.
Needless to say, Vancouver and the rest of the province are happy to see him stay.
Arland Bruce re-signed: This is a signing to watch. Wide receiver Arland Bruce is a talented veteran with a great set of hands, who has a mercurial reputation. He was painted as a disruptive flake in Hamilton, but by all accounts settled well in the BC locker room.
Wally Buono has had nothing but praise for him since he joined the Leos. With 9 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown in the western division final and the Grey Cup games, he demonstrated his worth.
Anton McKenzie re-signed: This was a smart and underrated move on Wally Buono’s part as the linebacker is as equally adept when it comes to tackling running backs coming out of the backfield, as he is comfortable dropping back into coverage.
His 79 tackles placed him second on the team and he also picked up two sacks in situational pass rushing.
This type of versatility in personnel allows the defence to consider more flexible schemes.
Solomon Elimimian moves to Miami: This is the only major negative development in the Lions off season to date. The supremely talented linebacker has taken the skills, which provided 188 tackles and 13 sacks over two seasons, to an NFL contract with the Minnesota Vikings.
The Nigerian was an impact player and the hole he leaves behind will need to be filled.