With all training camps now open across the National Football League as of Friday, a number of former Canadian Football League players will look to make their respective final rosters over the next five weeks.
Fourteen players that featured in the CFL last season signed deals with NFL clubs over the off-season. They’ll now get the chance to impress their new teams in a bid to join the group of CFLers that made the jump to the NFL in previous seasons.
TSN.ca tracks the group of former CFL players that signed in the NFL this year and will update their statuses throughout training camp leading up to the start of the NFL regular season in September.
Tevaughn Campbell, New York Jets: The Canadian cornerback previously earned mini-camp invites with Washington and the New York Giants in 2015 after an impressive CFL combine showing (he ran a 4.35 40-yard dash). After playing his college ball at Regina, Jets camp will be Campbell’s first extended time playing the four-down game.
Jake Ceresna, New York Giants: This will be Ceresna’s second NFL training camp after attending the Jets’ camp in 2016 as an undrafted rookie. The defensive lineman earned a deal with the Giants after recording eight sacks with the Edmonton Eskimos last year.
Sam Eguavoen, Miami Dolphins: After taking a year off football in 2015, the linebacker spent the past three seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Eguavoen earned a contract with the Dolphins after a career year in 2018: 81 tackles, three sacks, and an interception.
Ty Long, Los Angeles Chargers: Long is expected to be in an open competition for the Chargers’ punting position after the team failed to bring back their punter from last season. A two-time CFL All-Star, Long has previous NFL training camp experience with Washington, where he competed as a kicker in 2015.
Marken Michel, Philadelphia Eagles: Michel enters his second NFL training camp after attending Minnesota Vikings camp as an undrafted free agent in 2016. In between, the receiver recorded 72 receptions for 1,215 yards and eight touchdowns in 24 games with the Calgary Stampeders.
Bryant Mitchell, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mitchell is on his second NFL team this year after the Arizona Cardinals signed and subsequently cut him in the spring. The receiver had 60 receptions for 867 yards and three touchdowns in just 11 games with the Eskimos last season.
De’Mornay Pierson-El, Oakland Raiders: Pierson-El makes the list after a very short stint with the Montreal Alouettes last season. The Als were one of three teams the receiver spent time with last season, along with Washington of the NFL and the Salt Lake Stallions of the now-defunct AAF.
Alex Singleton, Philadelphia Eagles: The most decorated CFLer to sign in the NFL this off-season, Singleton joins the Eagles as a two-time CFL All-Star, Grey Cup champion, and 2017 Most Outstanding Defensive Player. The linebacker has previous off-season or practice roster stints with the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, and Minnesota Vikings.
Diontae Spencer, Pittsburgh Steelers: Spencer signed with the Steelers after four seasons in the CFL, tied with Campbell for the longest tenure north of the border of any player on this year’s list. He should compete as both a receiver and special-teamer after finishing last year with 2,704 all-purpose yards for the Ottawa Redblacks.
Jameer Thurman, Chicago Bears: One of three CFLers to sign with the Bears this off-season, Thurman joined the Bears after two seasons with the Stampeders, recording 134 tackles, three sacks, and three interceptions in 35 games.
James Vaughters, Bears: Another former Stampeders defender to sign with the Bears, Vaughters has already been through two NFL training camps (Green Bay Packers, San Diego Chargers) and even spent some time on the Packers’ practice roster in 2015. He’ll give it a third try after racking up 24 tackles and five sacks last season in Calgary.
Duke Williams, Buffalo Bills: Williams was a five-star junior college recruit that played at Auburn before getting dismissed from the team for disciplinary issues. He signed with the Los Angeles Rams as undrafted free agent in 2016 but was cut after training camp. He’s back for another go after being named a CFL All-Star with the Eskimos last season.
Jordan Williams-Lambert, Bears: The wide receiver spent the 2016 season on the New Orleans Saints practice roster before getting cut by the team in training camp in 2017. Williams-Lambert is back in the NFL after just one season in the CFL, where he finished with 62 receptions for 764 yards and four touchdowns with the Roughriders.
Mathieu Betts, Chicago Bears: Betts isn’t a former CFLer – he’s never played in the league – but was drafted by the Edmonton Eskimos third overall in the CFL Draft despite signing with the Bears as an undrafted free agent just days before.