The Redblacks have fallen to a 3-8 record leaving them to make some tough decisions moving forward. One decision that caught this writer by surprise was the breaking news that linebacker Chizi Umunakwe has been released.
With the release coming out just minutes ago, this is a surprising move given that Umunakwe has spent the majority of the season on the injured list. Recently he became healthy, and was working his way back into the lineup by all accounts. He had even been listed on the depth chart as of last week’s game.
The Towson graduate has struggled to get into the starting lineup this season due to limited repetitions. He suffered an injury early in the year that held him out of several games, and by then he had missed valuable time to get him up to speed. Knowing their backs are against the wall, perhaps the Redblacks are leaning more toward veterans at the linebacker position currently. Maybe we finally see Darnell Sankey signed?
Umunakwe appeared in 5 games this season starting 2. He collected 6 tackles. The young linebacker is an impressive athlete with prototypical size for a CFL linebacker. Standing 6’0 230 pounds he managed a 4.65 40-yard dash, a 1.63 10-yard split, 27 reps in the bench press, and a 35 inch vertical leap. The Redblacks had him penciled in as a middle linebacker however he might be best used as a pass rushing outside linebacker. With his strength and first step he should be exactly what most teams look for in a pass rush specialist.
Despite this the team has decided to move on from the linebacker who looked promising when healthy. The former Chiefs Minicamp invite was a highly regarded rookie this season I expect we will see him resurface somewhere sooner rather than later.
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