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May 24, 2016

Lions welcome back veteran DB Steven Clarke

Johany Jutras/CFL.ca

VANCOUVER — The BC Lions have added some familiarity to their defensive backfield, announcing Tuesday they’ve re-signed veteran international Steven Clarke.

Clarke, 25, emerged as a regular starter for the Lions in 2015 in just his second CFL season, starting 15 games at corner and tallying 48 defensive tackles, a sack, an interception and a forced fumble. He also contributed with nine stops on special teams.

The Vanderbilt grad was granted an early release from the Lions in January to pursue an NFL opportunity with the Tennessee Titans.

After recording 61 solo tackles and an interception over four seasons with the Vanderbilt Commodores as a cornerback and kick returner, Clarke was not selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. He signed as a free agent with the Miami Dolphins and played in three pre-season games before being released.

The Lions then signed Clarke to their practice roster in September of 2014.

The team also announced Tuesday the signing of international linebacker Auston Johnson. The son of former Lions and Stampeders linebacker Alondra Johnson appeared in 24 games over two seasons at South Dakota, recording 67 solo tackles, 11 of them for a loss, along with eight sacks.

A 5-foot-11, 230-pound Calgary native, Johnson was a standout at the Edmonton Regional Combine in 2015, leading the field with 29 reps on the bench press. Despite that he went undrafted in the 2015 CFL Draft.

First-year BC Lions will be on the field on Thursday, May 26 in Kamloops, B.C. for the first of three mini-camp practices ahead of 2016 training camp, which begins on Sunday, May 29.