Graphic: Igor Lazarevic
The CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders have beefed up their International content material popping out of a Week 4 bye, signing German fullback Chris Ezeala to the workforce’s apply roster.
The Riders initially drafted Ezeala with the fifth total choose within the 2021 CFL International Draft, however the 25-year outdated opted to remain in Europe for the beginning of the Canadian season to be current for the beginning of his first youngster. Now a brand new father, he joins the CFL’s lone remaining unbeaten workforce and has already begun working towards after finishing his quarantine necessities final week.
The 6-foot, 251-pound prospect hasn’t been idle whereas ready to go to Canada, enjoying two video games with the European League of Soccer’s Cologne Centurions. Ezeala contributed in all three phases, carrying 4 instances for 10 yards and catching one 10-yard landing on offense, making six tackles, three tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks on protection, whereas additionally punting eight instances for a median of 42.25 yards per kick.
Previous to being drafted into the CFL, Ezeala spent two years on the Baltimore Ravens apply squad as a part of the NFL’s Worldwide Participant Pathway Program. Initially assigned to the workforce in 2018, Ezeala was introduced again for the 2019 season however didn’t obtain a 3rd contract. In eight NFL preseason video games, he noticed motion on 100 snaps as a lead blocker and particular teamer, recording one deal with.
Born in Munich, Ezeala started enjoying soccer as a 13-year outdated for the Munchen Rangers earlier than breaking into the GFL ranks with the Allgau Comets in 2015. In three GFL seasons, two with the Comets and one with the Ingolstadt Dukes, Ezeala performed primarily linebacker, racking up 205 tackles, 50 tackles for loss and 16 sacks.
Ezeala’s potential as a operating again wasn’t realized till his remaining GFL season in 2017, when he carried the ball for the Dukes 17 instances for 206 yards and a landing, producing an eye-popping 12.1 yards per carry. His accomplishments caught the attention of present Dallas Cowboys line of defense coach Aden Durde and Ezeala was transformed to an NFL fullback below the tutelage of two-time Professional Bowler Earnest Byner.
A late addition to the Riders’ roster, Ezeala can have a steep studying curve to stand up to hurry along with his new workforce. He’ll get time to get caught up on the apply roster, however there isn’t any query that Saskatchewan desires to get him on the gameday roster as quickly as doable.
The membership is required to decorate one International participant per sport based mostly on CFL guidelines, a spot that’s at the moment being held by South African kicker John Henry Nell. With Canadians Brett Lauther and Jon Ryan entrenched as placekicker and punter respectively, Nell has been accountable for little greater than operating the kicking tee onto the sphere. That has been a wasted roster spot in a league that already operates with a brief bench, that means the prospect of Ezeala stepping in as a particular groups contributor is one the Riders must occur as quickly as doable.
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