January 31, 2023

Former Rider A.C. Leonard signs with Elks

The Canadian Press

EDMONTON – The Edmonton Elks bulked up their defensive line on Wednesday, adding A.C. Leonard and signing Christian Rector to a one-year contract extension.

Leonard joins the Elks after spending the last three seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The University of Florida product had 33 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble in 13 games in 2022.

Leonard was released by the Riders on Tuesday afternoon.

The 31-year-old has spent seven seasons in the CFL, beginning his CFL career with the BC Lions in 2015 before going to Saskatchewan, where he played for Elks head coach and general manager Chris Jones in 2016 and 2017. Leonard was an East Division All-Star with the Ottawa REDBLACKS in 2018.

In 97 career CFL games, Leonard has 234 tackles, 39 sacks, an interception and six forced fumbles.

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A receiver when he joined the BC Lions in 2015, Leonard made the move to d-line under then-coach Chris Jones in Saskatchewan (Matt Smith/CFL.ca)

“A.C. is a dynamic player and…an elite pass rusher,” said Geroy Simon, the Elks assistant general manager. “We’re elated to have the opportunity to bring him to the Green and Gold and reunite him with coach Jones.”

Rector, 25, returns for a third season with the Elks, following a standout NCAA career at USC where he served as team captain as a senior in 2019.

The California native played eight games in 2022, recording 13 defensive tackles and ranking third on the Elks with three sacks.

In 19 career CFL games, Rector has 23 defensive tackles, two tackles on special teams, seven sacks and a pair of forced fumbles.

“Christian made great strides last season,” says Simon. “When healthy he showed great ability to get to the quarterback. We look forward to his continued development.”

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