February 5, 2022

Elks, Derel Walker agree to contract extension

Photo: The Canadian Press

EDMONTON — Veteran wide receiver Derel Walker is staying in Edmonton.

The pending free agent’s extension was announced Saturday by the Elks, along with the additions of Charles Nelson (WR), Dionte Sykes (WR), Floyd Redfield (DB), Darius Royster (DL), and Jeawon Taylor (DB).

The moves come just days before CFL free agency officially opens on Tuesday, February 8.

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Walker returns for 2022 after completing his fifth season with the Green and Gold in 2021. The Texas A&M product had 531 receiving yards on 44 receptions last season to finish second on the Elks in both categories.

Through six CFL seasons, Walker has 5,779 career receiving yards and 32 touchdowns. He was a member of Edmonton’s 2015 Grey Cup championship team, earning the CFL Most Outstanding Rookie award that season with 89 catches for 1,110 yards and six TDs.

In addition to Walker’s extension, the Elks have also inked five newcomers to the Green and Gold, including receivers Nelson and Sykes.

Nelson played 49 games for Oregon from 2013-2017, registering 124 receptions for 1,555 yards and 14 touchdowns. A threat on both sides of the ball, the 2015 Pac-12 All-Conference recipient (first team) also recorded 67 total tackles, two interceptions, and six pass breakups.

Nelson has CFL experience to his name, after breaking into the league in 2018 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. His first action came a year later when he appeared in four games for the Bombers before suffering a season-ending foot injury. In 2021 he played in seven games — primarily as a return man — before being moved to the practice roster in late September.

Sykes joins Edmonton after finishing his senior year at Colorado State Pueblo. The Arizona native spent two years with the Thunderwolves recording 26 receptions for 507 yards and a touchdown. Prior to his time with the Thunderwolves, the six-foot-three, 206 -pound receiver spent two seasons at Mesa Community College, recording 600 receiving yards on 56 catches and 12 touchdowns.

On defence, Redfield signs after playing two years professionally with Guelfi Firenze, of the Italian Football League. Prior to his time in Italy, the defensive back spent time with the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) in 2018.

Collegiately, Redfield played his first three seasons with Notre Dame before transferring to Indiana University Pennsylvania for his senior year. The former five-star recruit out of California appeared in 13 games his senior year, registering 78 total tackles, four interceptions, 13 pass breakups, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.

Joining Redfield on the defensive side of the ball are Royster and Taylor.

Royster spent three seasons at North Carolina Central, where he was the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 after registering 75 total tackles, 16 tackles for loss, nine sacks, and three forced fumbles. The Chesapeake, Virginia native played last season in the Spring League.

Taylor joins the Elks after a four-year collegiate career at Florida. The Montgomery, Alabama product notched 132 total tackles, three tackles for loss, an interception and three pass breakups in 44 career games for the Gators.

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