July 4, 2016

REDBLACKS sign Smith, Grigsby; Van lands on six-game

OTTAWA — As the injury bug continues to hit the nation’s capital, the Ottawa REDBLACKS announced a series of corresponding roster moves Monday morning.

Joining Henry Burris on the six-game injured list is Travon Van, the second REDBLACKS running back to go down with injury this season, while the team has announced the signing of international running back Nic Grigsby, quarterback Brett Smith and defensive back Tristan Jackson to the practice roster.

The REDBLACKS also announced the release of international receiver John Harris from the practice roster, while receiver and returner Jamill Smith and linebacker Olivier Goulet-Veilleaux have also been placed on the six-game injured list.

Van took over the starting running back position during pre-season when William Powell suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. The 25-year-old rushed for 133 yards on 24 carries (5.5 yards per carry) while chipping in 77 yards through the air on seven catches.

His best effort came in a Week 2 victory over the Montreal Alouettes in which he rushed for 86 yards on 12 carries (7.2 yards per carry) with three catches for 33 yards on the way to a 28-13 win.


Kienan Lafrance celebrates his first career CFL touchdown in Week 1 (The Canadian Press)

Winnipeg native Kienan Lafrance appears to be the next man up for the REDBLACKS, the 45th overall pick in 2015 sitting with 13 carries for 52 yards (four yards per carry) to go with a receiving touchdown in two games. A 5-foot-10, 210-pound Manitoba graduate, Lafrance had a game-high 13 carries in his team’s Week 2 win.

Smith provides some quarterback depth for the REDBLACKS after spending 2015 with the Riders. The 24-year-old threw for 1,822 yards and 15 touchdown passes over 18 games as a member of the Green and White.

Jackson arrives in Ottawa with the ability to both play defence and return kicks. He’s been a special teams ace since joining the league in 2008 while also contributing defensively, last season recording 52 tackles in 16 games along with a forced fumble for the Riders.

Grigsby, a former Ticat, Blue Bomber and Eskimo, owns a 5.1 yards per carry average throughout his three-year CFL career. He rushed for 59 yards on 10 carries in three games with the Ticats last season before spending time with the Eskimos later in the season.

The REDBLACKS look to get to 3-0 in their home-opener on Friday night against the Calgary Stampeders.