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Montreal Alouettes sign veteran quarterback Harris as free agent

Head coach Khari Jones and the Montreal Alouettes learned last year CFL teams can never have enough quarterback depth. Montreal re-signed American Trevor Harris on Wednesday, the second day of CFL free agency. He joins incumbent Vernon Adams Jr.

Head coach Khari Jones and the Montreal Alouettes learned last year CFL teams can never have enough quarterback depth.

Montreal re-signed American Trevor Harris on Wednesday, the second day of CFL free agency. He joins incumbent Vernon Adams Jr., and newcomer Dominique Davis as veteran CFL quarterbacks with the club.

Montreal acquired Harris, 35, from Edmonton last October after Adams Jr. suffered a season-ending left shoulder injury. Harris made four regular-season starts, completing 64-of-91 passes for 703 yards with eight TDs and two interceptions.

But the six-foot-three, 212-pound Harris fumbled three times and threw an interception in Montreal's 23-12 East Division semifinal loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Nov. 28. The Alouettes released Harris in December — he was scheduled to receive a $300,000 bonus in February — after signing Adams Jr. to an extension.

Montreal released backup Matthew Shiltz — he landed in Hamilton — after signing Davis, a six-year CFL veteran, to a one-year deal. The Alouettes also have quarterbacks Shea Patterson, Quinten Dormady and Davis Alexander on their roster.

"Trevor came on last season for us when we really needed someone," Jones said. "I liked his work ethic and the amount of time he puts into playing quarterback.

"I felt very comfortable with re-signing him. We found out you can't have enough good quarterbacks and that (having three CFL veterans) will help us immensely."

Jones made it very clear Adams Jr. remains the starter.

"I still think the world of Vernon and know he's going to do a great job for us," said Jones.

Harris has also spent time with the Toronto Argonauts (2012-15) and Ottawa (2016-18), winning a Grey Cup with the Redblacks in 2016.

Montreal also signed veteran American defensive tackle Almondo Sewell through the '23 season. The six-foot-four, 288-pound Sewell, a six-time league all-star, had 19 tackles and five sacks last season after spending his first nine CFL campaigns with Edmonton (2011-19).

Sewell won a Grey Cup with Edmonton in 2015.

American defensive lineman Adrian Tracy officially ended his retirement Wednesday, signing with the Toronto Argonauts. On Tuesday, all-star cornerback Delvin Breaux signed with the B.C. Lions after also calling it a career before the '21 season.

Tracy, 34, retired last March after signing with Montreal. The six-foot-three, 248-pound Tracy spent five seasons with the Tiger-Cats (2015-2019), registering 139 tackles, 21 sacks, two interceptions and five forced fumbles in 58 career CFL regular-season games, 51 being starts.

"I just wanted to be a part of something special and it looks like Pinball (Argos GM Michael Clemons) and everybody else in the front office and management and coaching side are doing just that," Tracy said during a videoconference Wednesday. "So it was an easy decision for me, especially coming out of retirement.

"So I'm definitely excited to be a part and love what the future holds for all of us."

Tracy began his pro career with the NFL's New York Giants after being selected in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL draft out of William & Mary. He earned a Super Bowl ring with the franchise in 2012 before finishing his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals in 2014.

Hamilton shored up its defensive line by signing Americans Micah Johnson and J.R. Tavai. 

The six-foot-two, 278-pound Johnson started 12 games at defensive tackle last season with Saskatchewan, registering 19 tackles (eight for loss) and one fumble recovery. Johnson, 33, a three--time league all-star, has appeared in 108 career regular-season games with Calgary (2013-18) and Saskatchewan (2019, 2021). 

Tavai, 28, started nine games at defensive end for B.C. in 2021, registering 15 tackles (two for a loss), two sacks and one forced fumble. The six-foot-two, 269-pound Tavai has played in 31 career CFL regular-season games with the Lions (2021) and Ottawa Redblacks (2018-19).

The Redblacks agreed to terms with defensive backs Patrick Levels and Monshadrick Hunter and signed receivers Jaelon Acklin and Shaq Johnson. Levels, Hunter and Acklin are Americans while Johnson is a Canadian.

The five-foot-11, 187-pound Levels is entering his fifth CFL season. He spent the last two years with Montreal after starting his pro career in Canada with Calgary (2017-18).

The Dallas native has appeared in 55 career CFL regular-season games, recording 164 tackles, eight sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. He helped Calgary win the Grey Cup in 2018.

Hunter, 26, was a 2021 CFL all-star with Montreal after registering 55 total tackles, two interceptions and a sack in 14 regular-season games. Hunter also spent time with Edmonton (2018-19) and his father, Torii, was a five-time Major League Baseball all-star.

Acklin, 26, spent his first two CFL seasons with Hamilton, recording 108 catches for 1,386 yards and seven TDs in 31 games.

Johnson, of Brampton, Ont., spent the last five seasons with B.C., recording 127 catches for 1,749 yards and seven TDs in 68 career regular-season games.

In other moves it was:

— Saskatchewan signed national receiver Wesley Lewis. The six-foot-five, 218-pound Lewis appeared in 11 games over two seasons with Ottawa, registering three catches for 33 yards.

— B.C. signed Canadian linebacker Kevin Francis, quarterback Isaac Harker and offensive lineman Jamar McGloster. Harker and McGloster are Americans. Francis, 28, of Toronto had three tackles and two special-teams tackles over 12 games in 2021 with Saskatchewan. Harker spent the last two seasons as a backup with the Riders. McGloster played five games with Ottawa in 2021 and spent part of the '19 campaign with Winnipeg.

— Calgary signed Canadian free-agent linebacker D.J. Lalama. The six-foot, 222-pound Lalama had 25 tackles, eight special-teams tackles and a sack in 11 regular-season games last year with Montreal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 9, 2022.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

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