If you are absolutely in desperate need of live, gridiron football on your screen, the Canadian Football League (CFL, for short!) just kicked off its season on Thursday. On Friday, I actually watched the riveting end to last year’s Grey Cup rematch between the Calgary Stampeders and Ottawa Redblacks. Eastern Washington University’s own Bo Levi Mitchell led Calgary back from a 28-14 deficit to force overtime, which ended in a 31-31 tie. CFL games are available on ESPN3, with a handful of them airing live on ESPN2.
I’ve scanned the rosters of every CFL team, of which they’re only nine, to see if there are any former Seahawks playing up north. If you go strictly by anyone who has played a regular season snap, then we only have one guy. There are, however, several guys who at least were on the preseason roster and now call the CFL their home.
Michael Brooks, DT, BC Lions. Brooks did get some regular season action with the Seahawks in 2013. He was activated off the practice squad in November and played in Seattle’s 33-10 romp over Atlanta. Brooks returned to the PS almost immediately after that game, and was cut before the 2014 regular season. He’s had good success in Canada, earning All-Star honors (the CFL doesn’t have a Pro Bowl equivalent, so this is just an award) in 2015. Brooks is under contract through the 2018 season.
Josh Shirley, DE, BC Lions. Shirley signed a futures contract with the Seahawks in 2016, but was placed in injured reserved and eventually waived prior to the start of the regular season. This is his first year with BC.
Kenneth Boatright, DE, BC Lions. Boatright was signed as an UDFA by Seattle in 2013, but was waived after suffering a shoulder injury. He registered one career tackle in Dallas and is currently on BC’s practice squad.
Alex Singleton, LB, Calgary Stampeders. Singleton was an UDFA pickup in 2015 but didn’t make it to the 53-man roster. Unable to hold down a spot in New England or Minnesota, Singleton is entering his second year with Calgary. According to his 2016 profile, “Singleton played 18 games (including 10 starts at middle linebacker) and registered 65 defensive tackles including five tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, four knockdowns and nine special-teams tackles. He started the Western Final and recorded two tackles and a knockdown. He also started the Grey Cup and had nine tackles and one fumble recovery.”
Mike Reilly, QB, Edmonton Eskimos. The Seahawks claimed the former Central Washington star off of waivers in the 2010 offseason, but let him go just two weeks later. Reilly was Grey Cup MVP in 2015, and last year he threw for over 5,500 yards (18 game season), as well as a career-high 28 touchdown passes to just 12 interceptions.
Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He was projected to be drafted in 2014, but he wound up becoming an UDFA. Seattle inked a deal with him, only to cut him loose before the final preseason game. Jeffcoat did manage two seasons in Washington, including a sack and an interception, but spent last year on Cleveland’s practice squad. This is his first year in the CFL.
Tyrell Sutton, RB, Montreal Alouettes. The Northwestern talent’s brief stop in Seattle was in 2012. He was another futures contract player, and he was let go during roster cuts. He’s carved out a solid CFL career, including a league-leading 1,059 rushing yards in 2015. It’s definitely a passing league over there.
A.J. Jefferson, DB, Ottawa Redblacks. Jefferson was placed on IR in the 2014 season and was not retained for 2015. He was notably with the Arizona Cardinals and then the Minnesota Vikings before his stint with the Seahawks. Jefferson was cut by Minnesota hours after he was arrested for allegedly choking his girlfriend. He’d later plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge. This is Jefferson’s first year in Ottawa, after two pretty good seasons with the Toronto Argonauts.
Honorable mention: Vernon Adams Jr, QB, Montreal Alouettes. The former Oregon Ducks starter attended Seahawks rookie minicamp in 2016 but left without a contract.
Quirky mention: Justin Senior. The Seahawks drafted Senior in the 6th round of this year’s NFL Draft, but he was also selected by Edmonton with the 40th pick in the CFL Draft in May. Obviously he’s under contract with Seattle now, but if things don’t work out, he is surely going to be going to the CFL, as he was one of the country’s top draft prospects.
Widening the scope to include former players on other NFC West teams, ex-49ers running back Kendall Hunter plays for Toronto, Ottawa has plenty of former Arizona Cardinals, including backup QB Ryan Lindley, running backs Marion Grice and William Powell, and defensive back Javier Arenas. The Redblacks also have Drew Tate as a third-string QB, and he had a quick stop in St. Louis way back in 2007.
If you’re craving some of that CFL action, here’s the full schedule. Go BC Lions, I guess!