As the Tiger-Cats prepare to open their season against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the final roster has been set. Before the cutdown deadline on July 30th, the Tiger-Cats released 12 players and added another 17 to the practice roster.
Hamilton only released three Canadian players: defensive tackle Marshall Esokpunwu, defensive back Jean Ventose, and linebacker Jarek Richards. Richards was the most surprising cut, as the Tiger-Cats had drafted him in the fourth round (36th overall) of the 2021 CFL draft back in May. Richards, who hails from Chateauguay, Quebec, played collegiate football for the Saint Mary’s Huskies. Through three seasons and 22 total games at Saint Mary’s, Richards recorded 106 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and a sack.
While only three Canadians were released, nine Americans were forced to say goodbye to the team. These are the American players cut by the Tiger-Cats:
- Jeff Allison (linebacker)
- Jalen Bates (defensive end)
- Adonis Davis (defensive back)
- Jamire Jordan (wide receiver)
- Marko Myers (defensive back)
- Byron Marshall (running back)
- Cam Phillips (wide receiver)
- Justice Powers (offensive lineman)
- Brad Stewart Jr (defensive back)
One of the more familiar names on the list is Byron Marshall, who played collegiate football at the University of Oregon. After not being selected in the 2016 NFL draft, Marshall signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent. He was on-and-off the Eagles roster throughout 2016 and 2017 before being picked up by the Washington Redskins (now the Washington Football Team). Marshall was on-and-off the Washington roster in 2017 and 2018, then was on both the Buffalo Bills’ and Baltimore Ravens’ practice squads in 2019. He was out of football in 2020, and signed with the Tiger-Cats on February 11th, 2021. Marshall’s stats from his time in the NFL can be found here.
Another familiar name is Cam Phillips, who played for the XFL’s Houston Roughnecks in 2020. Phillips was the XFL’s receiving yards leader, catching 31 passes for 455 yards and 9 touchdowns in just 5 games. Before his stint in the XFL (which was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic), Phillips had played for the Buffalo Bills in 2018. However, he caught just a single pass for 9 yards during his time with the team. Phillips joined the Tiger-Cats in June of 2021 after failing to make an NFL comeback with the Carolina Panthers. Although he was cut by Hamilton on July 29th, he signed with the Toronto Argonauts shortly after. Phillips would’ve likely been a lock to make the roster if he was able to contribute on special teams.
Following the release of 12 players, the Tiger-Cats put together their practice roster. Here are the 17 players that the Tiger-Cats decided deserved an opportunity:
- Lee Autry II (defensive tackle, USA)
- Joseph Bencze (offensive lineman, Canada)
- Ronheen Bingham (defensive end, USA)
- Malcolm Campbell (defensive end, Canada)
- Steven Dunbar Jr (wide receiver, USA)
- Valentin Gnahoua (defensive end, France)
- Marcus Green (wide receiver, USA)
- David Izinyon (linebacker, UK)
- Anthoula Kelly Jr (defensive back, USA)
- Chris Mulumba (defensive tackle, Finland)
- Jordan Murray (offensive lineman, USA)
- Patrick Nelson (linebacker, USA)
- Tom Schnitzler (long snapper, Canada)
- J’Mar Smith (quarterback, USA)
- Tyler Ternowski (wide receiver, Canada)
- Papi White (wide receiver, USA)
- John Yarbrough (offensive lineman, USA)
Some of the practice roster players have had previous experience with either the Tiger-Cats or another team in the CFL. Others have had experience playing professionally in the United States, and a few have never played professional football at all (players that are coming out of college). The hope is that those on the practice roster will get an opportunity to appear in a Tiger-Cats game at some point in the 2021 season.
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