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REDBLACKS sign Nichols, release Arbuckle

OTTAWA — A few hours after his release from the Toronto Argonauts, Matt Nichols has found a new home.

Nichols was released on Sunday afternoon and later on that evening, the Ottawa REDBLACKS announced that the team has signed the veteran and Grey Cup champion quarterback. The team also announced that they have released quarterback Nick Arbuckle.

Nichols has played 144 regular season games over eight CFL campaigns and is most recently coming off a championship season with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

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The Eastern Washington University product, who signed with the Toronto Argonauts ahead of the cancelled 2020 season, spent the five previous years with the Bombers. He began his CFL career with the Edmonton Football Club, where he spent two-and-a-half seasons.

“We’re excited to welcome Matt Nichols to the REDBLACKS,” said Ottawa REDBLACKS General Manager Marcel Desjardins. “Matt is a competitor, a leader and a proven winner in the CFL.  He will be an excellent fit for what Coach LaPolice and his staff are implementing in Ottawa.”

Though injury shortened his 2019 campaign, Nichols finished the Grey Cup-winning year with 171 completions for 1,936 yards and 15 touchdowns in nine games. For his career, Nichols has 1,582 completions on 2,373 passes for 18,363 yard and 108 touchdowns.

The move reunites Nichols with REDBLACKS Head Coach and former Bombers Offensive Coordinator Paul LaPolice.

We are excited to bring Matt who has started and won a lot of games in our league, said LaPolice.”His experience and leadership will be crucial to our success.”

Arbuckle’s rights were traded to the REDBLACKS in January of 2020 before the pivot officially signed a two-year deal with Ottawa that February.

He spent the previous two seasons with the Calgary Stampeders. Following an injury to starter Bo Levi Mitchell in Week 3 of the 2019 campaign, Arbuckle stepped in and helped the Stamps to a victory over the BC Lions. Mitchell wound up being placed on the six-game injured list, opening the door for Arbuckle to have an extended look under centre for Calgary.

In seven starts during the 2019 season, Arbuckle threw for 2,010 yards and 10 touchdowns while completing 165 of 228 passes (72.4 percent). He also added four scores on the ground.

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