One of the major factors in the Toronto Argonauts winning the Grey Cup in 2022 was the play of their Canadian talent. The Leos had the Most Outstanding Canadian in the CFL last season. After having a year to remember, the award winner Nathan Rourke is getting serious looks south of the border.
While waiting for the NFL opt-out signing window to close on January 9, the Lions are taking care of business in locking up valuable Canadian talent. Offensive Lineman Andrew Pierson joins kicker Sean Whyte and David Menard as Canadian talent re-signed by the club this off-season.
In signing Peirson to a two-year contract extension, the Lions don’t just get security on the offensive line but a valuable presence in the community and in the locker room. The native of Kingston, Ontario came into the fold in 2018, making the Lions’ practice roster as an undrafted free agent in 2018 out of Gannon University in Erie, Penn. His ability to fill in whether anywhere along the line when called upon makes him a valuable asset. He is also a two-time finalist for the Tom Pate Memorial Award.
The award is selected annually by the CFLPA, is awarded to a player with outstanding sportsmanship and someone who has made a significant contribution to his team, his community and Association. Andrew Peirson has shown his versatility on and off the football. Saying that this is a quality signing would be an understatement.
Defensive End Alex McCalister is back up north after two failed attempts with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2019 and 2021. At 6’6, 240 pounds and growing up in North Carolina his first desire was to become a basketball player. He would wind up pursuing a career in football, ending up playing college ball with the Florida Gators.
Despite entering college very raw football wise, he showed steady improvement each year. This led to the Philadelphia Eagles selecting him in the 7th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Due to injuries his time in the city of brotherly love was short-lived. Washington would pick him up and sign him to a reserve/futures contract. His frame along with his attributes fit the CFL game, the fact that he just missed out on making the very talented defensive line shows there is something in his game.
At the age of 29, he knows that it now or never for him to play professional football.
One spot the Lions will see consistency carried over from 2022 is in the receiving corps. With the exception of Bryan Burnham retiring, the group is back for the 2023 season. Enter the signing of Devin Lucien, who like McCallister was selected in the 7th round of the NFL Draft in 2016. The receiver has been part of 5 NFL teams, 2 AAF teams, signed with the Blue Bombers for the 2020 but subsequently retired with the CFL on hiatus.
Lucien, 29, spent his first three seasons in college with UCLA. He would transfer for his final year to Arizona State. In his final seven games in college showed the football world what he was all about. In those games he had 854 receiving yards and 7 touchdown receptions averaging an impressive 18.6 yards per catch. Lucien has a plethora of experience but just like McCallister the time has to be now for him to make an impact at the professional level.
While McCallister and Lucien were getting drafted into the NFL, defensive back Joshua Flowers was gearing up for his first year of post-secondary ball at LIU-Post. In his rookie campaign he led the team in pass break-ups (14) and solo tackles (44) while finishing second in interceptions (6). It was no surprise to those who watched the New Jersey product in high school, where he was dominant. After the success at LIU-Post he would transfer and play two seasons at Winston Salem State where he would once again impress.
After not being selected in the 2022 NFL Draft he was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was released after attending mini-camp. At 6’3 and the ability to play the corner, this could turn out to be a great fit for Ryan Phillips secondary. The 24-year old Flowers is just beginning his professional career and this looks to be a great opportunity for the talented youngster to seize.
CFL News Hub Channel Trailer – Your News Source For The Canadian Football League
Get Alerts & Stay ConnectedCFL iPhone App
CFL Android App