May 21, 2023

Lions release Lemon, Jordan Herdman-Reed; sign Jonathan Kongbo

KAMLOOPS, BC — The BC Lions announced on Saturday that they have signed National defensive lineman Jonathan Kongbo.

The club has also released American defensive lineman Shawn Lemon and National linebacker Jordan Herdman-Reed.

Kongbo (six-foot-five, 266 pounds) most recently suited up in a pair of regular season contests with the Denver Broncos in 2022 after signing a reserve/futures deal in January.

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Selected in round one (fifth overall) by Winnipeg in the 2019 CFL Draft, Kongbo recovered from a serious injury suffered in his final college game by making his pro debut in August of that year. He would record 10 tackles and a sack in 12 regular season contests before helping the Blue Bombers prevail over Hamilton in the 107th Grey Cup.

He was then released from his contract to sign with the San Francisco 49ers ahead of the 2020 season before being waived with an injury settlement ahead of the regular season opener.

Kongbo returned to the Blue Bombers in June 2021 and would register 16 defensive tackles and three sacks in the shortened 14-game season. After recording three tackles plus a sack in the Western Final against Saskatchewan, the versatile pass rusher earned a second championship ring when the Bombers once again took down Hamilton in the 108th Grey Cup in December.

Kongbo transferred from Arizona Western College to Tennessee and would go on to suit up in 30 games with the Volunteers from 2016-2018, racking up 51 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, two interceptions and one defensive touchdown.

He previously suited up in BC High School Football with the Holy Cross Crusaders after moving from Kitsilano Secondary for his grade 12 year. Born in Zaire, Konbgo moved with his family to Canada at age five.

Lemon signed with the Lions in free agency this year, after being named the West Division’s nominee for Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2022 with the Calgary Stampeders. The 34-year-old had 14 sacks last season, his 11th in the league. Herdman-Reed had rejoined the Lions this year after spending the past two seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. A member of the Lions from 2017-2019, he has 96 tackles, and 50 special teams tackles, through 69 career games.

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