Trades aren’t as common in soccer as they are in other sports like hockey, baseball, or basketball, but once in a while you’ll see an aggressive one aimed at improving a team immediately. That’s what Alouettes general manager Danny Maciocia did last week.
Hours after trading Vernon Adams Jr. to the BC Lions, Maciocia bolstered his team’s roster by acquiring defensive end Thomas Costigan and defensive back Nafees Lyon from the Edmonton Elks for the defensive end. Avery Ellis and a third-round pick in 2023.
Swaps are not as common in football as it takes time for players to adopt a new pattern. And unlike other sports, the CFL only plays 18 games per season. But it’s a trade that makes more sense from the Alouettes’ perspective since Costigan and Lyon played for defensive coordinator Noel Thorpe in Edmonton last season.
“I was definitely caught off guard (by the trade), but I’m definitely blessed to have the opportunity to play here,” Lyon said after Monday’s training. “I know the way Thorpe runs his defense because he was in Edmonton last year. It’s not new to me. It’s easy to adjust.
“I think I’m ahead of the game because it’s basically the same concepts as last year. I already raced them last year, so looking back, I already know what to do and how he wants me to play. It’s easy to adapt to it and I feel like I can make games in (Thorpe’s system). »
Lyon isn’t the tallest body in high school (he’s listed at 5-foot-10), but what he lacks in size he makes up for in physique.
“I’m an aggressive corner kicker who likes to tackle well,” the 25-year-old said. “I can cover, make plays, catch a pick, I have sacks, forced fumbles too. I will definitely try to add value to this team and do what I can to help this team win games.
Lyon has 25 tackles, one sack, one interception and one forced fumble in eight games with the Elks in 2022.
Costigan will take Ellis’ place in the lineup. The 25-year-old has a relentless engine on defense and special teams, and he should be able to help the team pursue the quarterback this Friday against the BC Lions.
“I love passing the race,” Costigan said. “It’s an art form to me. I love tackling the QB, and there’s no better game in football than a strip-sack. I am a player who will give everything at every snap, and I will attack the QB, that’s for sure.
“Like I said, I put in my all when I play, so it’s good to see another general manager recognizing that and wanting to bring me here. I’m really excited to be here.
Both players are expected to be available for Friday’s game against the Lions at Percival Molson Stadium. Lyon lined up on the corner on the short side of the pitch in training this week, while Costigan saw plenty of defensive line action during the on-court sessions.
“They already have a great team here. That’s why they’re second in the East,” added the defensive lineman, who played college football at Bryant University. “We are just looking to fill positions they might need and contribute in any way we can. If we can do that, manage to get into the playoffs and make a run, that will be exciting.
The Alouettes took a few steps forward on Monday as they released linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons and returner Warren Newman from the practice lineup. The team also signed running back Jerry Howard Jr. (Towson) and defensive lineman Jabari Ellis (South Carolina).
Howard Jr. joins the Alouettes less than a week after the team released suspended running back Tavien Feaster. Howard, 23, listens at 6 feet and 230 pounds. He seems to be a very physical runner.
Ellis joins the Als after a brief stint in the NFL. The 24-year-old was undrafted in the 2022 NFL Draft but signed a free agent contract with the New York Giants. It was cut in July.