Before the Edmonton Elks stepped on to The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium on Wednesday for their final practice before facing the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday, the football club showed a commitment to second-year quarterback Taylor Cornelius.
The Elks signed the 26-year-old from Amarillo, Texas to a two-year contract extension which will run through the end of the 2024 CFL season.
“Taylor’s a young, up-and-coming quarterback,” said Elks assistant general manager Geroy Simon.
“He is trending in the right direction, so we’re excited about his future with the Edmonton Elks.”
Cornelius has made eight consecutive starts this season for the Elks, passing for 1,936 yards while throwing for eight touchdown passes and six interceptions.
He is also the Elks’ leading rusher to this point in the season with 291 yards, and has scored five touchdowns. Cornelius is one of three players in the CFL this season with at least five passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns.
In 2021, Cornelius dressed for 13 games and made eight starts, throwing for 1,795 yards, nine touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. He rushed for 149 yards and scored one touchdown.
Elks head coach and general manager Chris Jones said the quarterback trio of Cornelius, Tre Ford and Kai Locksley is a group the organization can build around.
“We’ve got both he and Tre under contract for the next two years — Locksley for one year — and we feel strongly they have attributes that are conducive to winning football games,” Jones said.
“Taylor has done everything we have asked him to do. He came in at No. 3 after camp, worked his way and continued to do the things that were asked of him and became our starter.”
Listen below: Elks head coach and general manager Chris Jones speaks about Taylor Cornelius and solidifying his quarterback depth.
Cornelius is known for his calm demeanour but has seen some tough moments in his 16 starts as a member of the Elks. He points to the mental side of game as being his biggest improvement.
“Being more confident and relaxed, and just figuring out the game,” Cornelius said. “Knowing the hots and knowing what coverages the defence is trying to do.
“Last year I was just learning on the run and trying to figure it out as fast as I could. This year, having an off-season and full training camp was a big help for me.”
Listen below: Elks quarterback Taylor Cornelius speaks about his two-year contract extension.
Jones came off the field in a bad mood following what he called the team’s worst practice of the season on Wednesday.
“We didn’t come out here with the intention of getting any better,” he said. “In fact, we are probably a worse football team now compared to when we went on the field.”
Listen below: Elks head coach Chris Jones wasn’t happy at all following Wednesday’s practice.
The Elks will head to Regina on Thursday and play the Riders on Friday night from Mosaic Stadium in Regina. 630 CHED will have live coverage starting with Countdown to Kickoff at 6 p.m. The opening kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m.