WINNIPEG — After a week of visiting clubs from around the CFL, star defensive end Willie Jefferson has elected to remain with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Jefferson was ranked first on CFL.ca’s Top 30 Pending Free Agents list. The reigning CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player made the move to Winnipeg last off-season, signing a one-year deal with the Bombers.
“As an organization, we are very excited to have Willie and his family return for another two seasons,” said General Manager Kyle Walters. “The talent he brings to the table and his ability to change football games speaks for itself, but what we have gotten to know over the past season is the person behind the player, and that is just as important to our football operations.”
Jefferson had been fielding offers from a number of teams with the Tiger-Cats and Argonauts putting forth the full court press on the stud rush end. On Friday, the Argos, along with GM Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons, took Jefferson and his family to sit courtside at a Toronto Raptors game. The following day, Hamilton pulled out all the stops, inviting Jefferson and his family to their facility where he was welcomed with graphics, jerseys and much more.
Ultimately, the towering sack-master chose to stick with the Blue Bombers after a dominant campaign in Winnipeg.
Jefferson is coming off a 2019 season that was the best of his six-year Canadian Football League career. In his first year as a Blue Bomber, he posted a career-best 12 quarterback sacks, set a new CFL record for pass knockdowns by a defensive lineman with 16 (best in the league), while also leading the CFL with six forced fumbles and adding 24 tackles, an interception and two fumble recoveries.
Jefferson was also dominant in the 107th Grey Cup, registering three sacks and two forced fumbles as the Bombers captured their 11th championship in franchise history. For his efforts, Jefferson was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player for the first time in his career and was also named a CFL All-Star and West Division All-Star for the third consecutive season. Jefferson was also named the Blue Bombers Most Outstanding Player and Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2019.
The 2020 season will be Jefferson’s seventh in the CFL after spending 2014-15 with the Edmonton Eskimos and 2016-18 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The veteran lineman has appeared in 94 regular season games, registering 43 sacks, 151 tackles, three career interceptions and touchdowns, and 12 forced fumbles.
They always said the East is sweet…
But the West is Best!!! #CmonDownToWinnipeg👐🏾
— Willie H. Jefferson III (@Stmn_Willie_Bmn) February 10, 2020
The Beaumont, Texas native is a six-year CFL veteran who has had previous stops in Edmonton and Saskatchewan. In 94 career games, he has 151 tackles, one special teams tackle, 43 sacks, three interceptions and 12 forced fumbles.
Jefferson is now a two-time Grey Cup champion. He also has three West Division and CFL All-Star honours (2017, 2018, 2019) under his belt.