VANCOUVER — Ryan Phillips vows to be a BC Lion for the rest of his playing days, and the on Thursday he backed up his word with a contract extension.
The 11-year veteran defensive back put pen to paper and signed a deal that will put him in Vancouver through 2017, the team announced, putting Phillips on track to suit up for BC for the 12th straight season.
“Ryan continues to perform at a very high level and this is an important signing for the club,” said General Manager and Head Coach Wally Buono. “He’s an integral part of our team both as a veteran defensive back and a leader away from the field.
“He still possesses the ability to change a game with one play and his experience is something we value tremendously when it comes to the development of our younger players.”
Watch: Phillips goes to the house vs. Rakeem Cato
The Eastern Washington graduate, who turned 33 in November, started last season riding a 180 games-played streak before a hamstring injury forced him to the sidelines for three weeks. Ultimately appearing in 14 regular season tilts, Phillips notched six interceptions which tied him for the league lead in the category, including a 49-yard pick-six versus Toronto on July 24th to go along with 29 tackles and a pair of pass knockdowns.
The lofty numbers earned Ryan his fifth career West Division All-Star selection.
“Without question, I’m a Lion to very end of my days as a pro,” said Phillips from his home in Seattle. “I am honoured and grateful to play for this organization, for our fans and alongside some of the very best players in the CFL.
“We have a tremendous opportunity to build a championship team and I’m excited to be a part of it moving forward.”
Phillips has now played 194 regular season games (ninth in team history) recording 46 career interceptions (second in team history) and 478 total tackles (2nd in team history). He’s played in at least 14 games every year of his career and either 17 or 18 games all but twice.
The Seattle native was set to enter the final year of his contract in 2016.
The Lions also announced that international defensive back Steven Clarke will be released to allow him to explore an NFL opportunity. Clarke was slated to become a free agent in February.
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