Elks open the 2022 CFL pre-season in Winnipeg against the Bombers

The cloud of uncertainty surrouding on labour front has finally lifted for the CFL. With a new collective bargaining agreement between the league and players, it’s time to play some football.

The Edmonton Elks will mark the return of pre-season football to the CFL for the first since the 2019 season when they visit the Grey Cup champion Blue Bombers from IG Field in Winnipeg Friday.

Read more: CFL players ratify new seven-year agreement with league

Between the two teams, there will be 155 players taking the field, including 79 players for the Elks.

Edmonton is led once again by head coach and general manger Chris Jones who returned to the green and gold back in December. Jones came in and hired Geroy Simon as assistant general manager and both didn’t waste any time in overhauling a roster from the 2021 season, which saw the Elks finish last in the CFL with a dismal 3-11 record.

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Out of the 96 players currently on the Elks training camp roster, only 26 players are back from the 2021 season, so the competition for roster spots has been fierce in camp.

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The quarterback battle for all spots has been the highlight of camp. The four quarterbacks listed on the Elks depth chart will play on Friday night led by Taylor Cornelius who will start. Nick Arbuckle is expected to see his first action since his trade to the Elks in late October. Tre Ford, who was selected 8th overall by the Elks in 2022 CFL Draft will also play. Kai Locksley is also expected to see some playing time.

Other notables who will suit up are receivers Derel Walker and 2021 CFL receiving champion Kenny Lawler. Defensive end Thomas Costigan, who led the Elks in sacks with six in 2021, along with defensive tackle Jake Ceresna, who finished second on the team with five sacks.

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Following the game, the Elks are required by the CFL to trim their roster to 75 players before 10 p.m. MST on Saturday.

The following are the projected offensive and defensive starters for the Elks:

Offence

Quarterback: Taylor Cornelius

Running back: Walter Fletcher (fullback: Ante Milanovich-Litre)

Offensive line: Tony Washington, David Foucault, David Beard, Mark Korte, Colin Kelly

Receivers: Derel Walker, Kenny Lawler, Emmaneul Arceneaux, Gavin Cobb, Mike Jones

Defence

Defensive line: Thomas Costigan, Nate Brisson-Fast, Jake Ceresna, Tobi Antigha

Linebackers: Wesley Appolon, Victor Abraham, DaQualyn Thomas

Defensive backs: Jhavonte Dean, Stefan Claiborne, Scott Hutter, Floyd Redfield, Nafees Lyon

Live coverage of Friday’s pre-season game between the Elks and Bombers will be on 630 CHED starting with Countdown to Kickoff with Brenden Escott at 5 p.m. The opening kickoff from IG Field in Wininpeg will be at 6:30 p.m. with Morley Scott and Dave Campbell calling all of the live action. Plus, hear analysis from two-time Grey Cup Champion and former Edmonton offensive lineman Blake Dermott.

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