January 25, 2023

More Lee in ’23: Lions extend veteran DB

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — T.J. Lee III is staying home. The BC Lions have signed the veteran defensive back to a two-year contract extension. Lee was eligible to become a free agent on February 14.

“It’s an honour to be staying with the only franchise I’ve ever known and one that believed in me from day one,” said Lee from his home in Washington State.

“My family and I are all grateful for the opportunity to remain a part of the community and on the field. We are building something special. It’s a great collective group of players and staff members.”

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Lee was at his usual highly productive levels in 2022 with 57 total tackles, three interceptions and a touchdown (The Canadian Press)

Entering his ninth season with the Lions, Lee’s 467 total tackles (430, 67 special teams) is just eight shy of Barrin Simpson for fifth on the Lions’ all-time list while he needs three more interceptions to surpass Eric Carter and Ken Hinton into tenth spot amongst all-time Lions (25 each).

The Seattle native was once again a key cog in the defensive wheel last season with 57 total tackles (53 defence, four special teams), three interceptions and a defensive touchdown to help seal a big victory over Winnipeg on October 15.

Originally signed by the squad following a Seattle free agent camp in 2014, Lee has suited up in 109 regular season contests while earning a CFL All-Star selection in 2018, Western Division All-Star nods in 2020 and 2021 and was the team finalist for CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2019.

Lee moved north after a stellar four-year college career at Eastern Washington (2010-2013) where he was a three-time All-Big Sky selection and racked up 149 defensive tackles, four interceptions and set a new school record of seven forced fumbles. He also helped lead the Eagles to their first NCAA Division I- AA championship in his freshman season.

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