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Football Hamilton Tiger-Cats sign all-star defensive back Rico Murray

Ottawa Redblacks' Rico Murray defends as Hamilton Tiger-Cats' Bralon Addison attempts to make a catch during the CFL East Division Final in Ottawa on Nov. 18, 2018.

Justin Tang/The Associated Press

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have signed American defensive back Rico Murray.

The 31-year-old started 18 games with Ottawa last season, registering 55 defensive tackles, three special teams tackles, five interceptions and a forced fumble en route to being named an East Division all-star for the third time in his career.

Murray, a 5-foot-11, 203-pound native of Cincinnati, also suited up in two playoff games for the Redblacks in 2018, including the Grey Cup in Edmonton.

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Murray has appeared in 86 career CFL games (84 starts) over six seasons with the Tiger-Cats (2013-16), Toronto Argonauts (2017) and Redblacks (2018), accumulating 290 defensive tackles, 15 special teams tackles, four sacks, 15 interceptions, six forced fumbles and two touchdowns.

He has also made four Grey Cup appearances (2013, 2014, 2017, 2018) – winning one with the Argos in 2017.

Prior to joining the CFL, Murray played nine NFL games with the Cincinnati Bengals over three seasons (2009-11), posting 19 combined tackles and two passes defended.

REDBLACKS INK HOLLEY

The Ottawa Redblacks have signed American receiver Caleb Holley to a one-year deal.

The 28-year-old native of Anchorage, Alaska, played the previous three seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He had 109 catches for 1,476 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 13.5 yards per reception over 33 games.

The Redblacks also added Canadian linebacker Kevin Francis on a one-year deal.

The Toronto native has been with the Roughriders the past three seasons.

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LEONARD JOINS ROUGHRIDERS

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed American defensive lineman A.C. Leonard to a one-year contract.

The 6-foot-2, 250-pound native of Palatka, Fla., returns to the Riders for his second stint after spending the 2016 and 2017 seasons in Saskatchewan.

Leonard started 17 regular-season games for the Ottawa Redblacks last season and set career highs with 50 defensive tackles and six quarterback sacks on his way to being named an East Division all-star.

Leonard originally entered the CFL in 2016 with the BC Lions, spending time at receiver.

LIONS SIGN HARRIS

The BC Lions have signed American linebacker Maleki Harris to a one-year deal.

Harris spent the past four seasons with the Calgary Stampeders, collecting 35 defensive tackles and another 22 on special teams. He played under new Lions head coach DeVone Claybrooks, who took the job after serving as defensive co-ordinator for the Stamps.

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“Maleki is a versatile player who can play both linebacker positions at a high level,” Claybrooks said in a statement. “Having had him in the same defensive system for the past four years, I know he has great instincts and he brings a lot of passion to special teams as well. He knows what we’re trying to build here and we’re excited to land a player of his calibre.”

STEPHEN JOINS STAMPEDERS

The Calgary Stampeders have signed Canadian defensive back Courtney Stephen, who spent the first six seasons of his CFL career with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

In 96 career regular-season games for the Ticats, the 29-year-old Brampton, Ont., native amassed 221 defensive tackles, including nine tackles for loss, 39 special-teams tackles, 12 interceptions, two sacks, six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 16 knockdowns.

Stephen also played nine post-season contests for Hamilton including the 2014 Grey Cup.

“Courtney is an established CFL veteran who has experience as a starter at safety and has also excelled on special teams,” Stampeders president and general manager John Hufnagel said in a release. “He provides depth for us in both of those areas and he’ll certainly have an opportunity to earn a significant role on the team in training camp.”

ALOUETTES ADD VETERAN RB JOHNSON

The Montreal Alouettes have signed veteran international running back Jeremiah Johnson for the 2019 season.

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The 5-foot-9, 209-pound rusher has played five seasons in the CFL, including the last three with the BC Lions.

In 13 games last season, he averaged 5.3 yards per carry for 633 yards and five touchdowns. The 31-year-old also added 308 yards on 40 receptions.

In 61 career CFL games Johnson has amassed 3,151 yards and 55 TDs on 572 carries. The Los Angeles native has also caught 162 passes for 1,415 yards and five touchdowns.

“The addition of Jeremiah gives us depth at the running back position, all while giving William Stanback another great veteran to look up to as he takes on more responsibilities in our offence,” Alouettes general manager Kavis Reed said in a release. “On top of being a great versatile running back, Jeremiah brings precious experience to our locker room and we look forward to seeing him in action in 2019.”

Montreal also gave a one-year extension to Canadian receiver Stephen Adekolu, who has mostly played special teams.

ARGOS ADD TWO

The Toronto Argonauts have re-signed offensive lineman Will Campbell and signed quarterback Dakota Prukop.

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The 27-year-old Campbell is entering his third season with Toronto. The Detroit native started 15 games in 2018 after playing in 14 games during his rookie season.

The 6-foot-5, 308-pound lineman started at left tackle in the Argos 105th Grey Cup win over Calgary two seasons ago.

Prukop, 25, signed with Toronto in May of 2017. The former Montana State pivot played in nine games as a rookie and 14 last season, recording a combined eight special teams tackles.

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