Winnipeg’s Steele in Saskatchewan
WINNIPEG, MB. — First Winnipeg’s Kienan LaFrance signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Now, CFL veteran Eddie Steele, will now wear Regina Green.
On Tuesday, the Riders signed Steele to a two-year deal. The 28-year-old Winnipegger spent the last four seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos. Last year, he played all 18 regular-season games and started five along with the Eastern Semifinal and Eastern Final.
A 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive tackle, Steele is one of the best Canadian athletes in the CFL. He’s a relatively small D-lineman, but he has tremendous speed and can chase down quarterbacks.
Through six CFL seasons, the University of Manitoba graduate has 108 defensive tackles and 13 quarterback sacks in 90 regular-season appearances. He won his first Grey Cup in 2015 as a member of the Eskimos.
He played his first two seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after the team had selected him in the third round (22nd overall) of the 2010 CFL Draft.
Steele’s dad Rocky played in the CFL and he started his football career with the North Winnipeg Nomads. He went on to play with the Kelvin High School Clippers and then the U of M. Now, in Saskatchewan, he’ll be re-united with Chris Jones, the man who led the Eskimos (and Steele) to the 2015 Grey Cup championship.
“It’s his style of coaching; he’s no-nonsense,” Steele told the Regina Leader-Post “To be honest, I just don’t want to let him down. I’m like that with all coaches, of course, but personally there was more of a sense of urgency to not let him down. I had my best years of football under him when he was with us in Edmonton, so that’s a nice draw to me. I know the scheme, I’m comfortable with it and I had success in it. I wouldn’t mind going back to that.”
Steele had 14 defensive tackles and one special-teams stop in 18 games for Edmonton in 2016. He was released by the Eskimos on Feb. 27, hours before he was to get his roster bonus (where has Kevin Glenn heard that before?).
“The timing of it was terrible, but it’s part of the business,” said Steele. “I’m not bitter or anything because I understand the business. I’m going into my eighth year of pro ball, so I get it.”
Steele can play tackle or end and because of his speed, can drop into coverage, rare for a D-lineman. In 2015, he he even started two games at guard for the Eskimos.
“If something happens and they lose all their O-linemen in a game, I know I’m that guy, the next man up,” Steele said. “But I’m going there to play D-line.”
—Scott Taylor, MyToba Sports
Photos – Jeff Miller, MyToba Sports