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Alouettes sign o-line core to extensions

MONTREAL — The Montreal Alouettes  will be keeping the core of its successful offensive line in place, as veterans Kristian Matte, Philippe Gagnon, Sean Jamieson and Landon Rice have all signed new two-year deals.

This group was extremely important to the Alouettes’ offensive successes in 2021, as the team finished atop many offensive categories, including total offensive yards (5,178), points (314), as well as rushing yards (2,023). The offensive line allowed only 35 sacks this season, even if it had to protect three different starting quarterbacks, who all have their own styles.

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“Our offensive line was one of the most important cogs in our offensive successes in 2021 and it was imperative that we keep its core together for the near future of our team,” said Alouettes general manager Danny Maciocia.

“These players all wanted to continue playing in Montreal and have more success together.”

The Aloeuttes were the only team in the league to reach the 2,000 rushing-yards plateau, finishing the season more than 300 yards ahead of the next team in that category. Their collective efforts helped Will Stanback finish atop the CFL with 1,176 rushing yards, which is also 300 yards more than his closest rival.

Matte (six-foot-four, 296 pounds), a 36-year-old veteran, continues to demonstrate his strength and versatility, playing mostly as a guard in 2021. Following certain injuries, he also played centre for a few games. His experience has been a precious commodity for the team’s young offensive players. The former Concordia University Stinger was drafted in the first round (seventh overall) by Montreal in 2010.

Gagnon (six-foot-four, 311 pounds) was back with the team that originally drafted him in the first round (second overall) in 2016, after one season in Ottawa. The 29-year-old former Université Laval Rouge et Or started nine games in 2021, which was his fifth season in the CFL.

Jamieson (six-foot-seven, 317 pounds) made eight starts at the centre position this season. The former Western University Mustang played his fourth season with the Alouettes in 2021, after being drafted in the third round (20th overall) by Montreal in 2016.

Rice (six-foot-six, 317 pounds) just completed his first full season as a starter in the CFL, which is his eighth in the league. The 33-year-old had a year to remember, as he was voted the Alouettes’ Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman. The former Manitoba University Bison was a starter in all of the team’s 14 games, most at the right tackle position.

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