SURREY, B.C. — The B.C. Lions have signed American kicker and punter Swayze Waters to a one-year contract, the club announced Tuesday.
Waters won a Grey Cup with the Toronto Argonauts in 2012 and was named the CFL's top special teams player in 2014.
The native of Jackson, Miss., sat out most of the 2015 season with a hip injury before inking a deal with the Carolina Panthers. He was cut by the NFL team during training camp last summer.
The Lions have been in the market for a kicker after granting Ritchie Leone early free-agent status so he could pursue a job south of the border. Leone signed with the Arizona Cardinals last month.
"Swayze is an accomplished kicker who can look after all three duties at a very high level," Lions head coach and general manager Wally Buono said in a release. "This is a major signing for the club as it fills a significant need for us after Richie's departure and allows us to have an extra position player on the roster rather than dressing both a punter and a kicker."
Leone led the CFL with a 49.3-yard punt average in 2016 and was sixth in kickoff average at 65.0 yards, but struggled with both field goals and converts.
The Lions were so concerned with Leone's placekicking — he was 35 for 51 on field goals and also missed five of 30 convert attempts — that veteran Paul McCallum, who was 46 at the time, was brought out of retirement late in the season.
Waters led the league in kicking points (192), field goals (47) and punt average (47.7 yards) in 2014, the first player to accomplish the feat since Lui Passaglia in 1983. He was also good on 90.4 per cent of his field goal attempts that year.