He was the Edmonton Elks’ superstar free agent signing last year, but with one week to go until the next CFL free agency period begins, receiver Kenny Lawler announced on social media that he plans to leave Alberta’s capital.
“Thank you so much for allowing me to represent this city and this amazing organization,” the 28-year-old football player said in an Instagram post on Tuesday. He said his family was grateful for their brief time in the city.
“Everyone we crossed paths with helped make this transition easy as possible for us.”
Last off-season, the Elks signed Lawler to a one-year contract worth a reported $300,000, making him the highest paid player in the CFL who was not a quarterback.
READ MORE: Edmonton Elks busy sign receiver Kenny Lawler
Citing an anonymous source, The Canadian Press reported Tuesday that the receiver who hails from California has agreed to a deal in principle with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
CFL contracts cannot officially be agreed to until Feb. 14, when free agency officially begins. However, once the reported two-year deal is officially announced, it would mark Lawler’s return to Manitoba where he began his electrifying CFL career in 2019.
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While playing for Winnipeg, Lawler helped the Bombers win Grey Cups in 2019 and 2021. In his only season with the Elks, Lawler managed to tally 58 catches for 894 yards and five touchdowns before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.
The 2022 season for the Elks was a difficult one. The club went 4-14 as it continues to rebuild since losing key players like quarterback Mike Reilly in 2019. Lawler said despite the challenging season with the Green and Gold, he was grateful for the competitive spirit the coaching staff maintained.
READ MORE: Edmonton Elks lament a 4-14 season
“Though we fell short, you all were never compromised in getting us to settle for nothing less than the goal we set out to achieve,” Lawler said, adding he will miss the teammates he played with and that he has “gained relationships this year that I know will last a lifetime.”
–With files from Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press