Edmonton Elks release veteran receiver Kenny Stafford on Day 12 of training camp

WATCH (May 1, 2018): The Edmonton Eskimos are gearing up for the 2018 campaign. Players Neil King and Kenny Stafford discuss their preparation for the upcoming season.

The Oxford dictionary defines the the word culture as: “The way of life of a people, including their attitudes, values, beliefs, arts, sciences, modes of perception, and habits of thought and activity. Cultural features of forms of life are learned but are often too pervasive to be readily noticed from within.”

Defining culture from a football perspective is a simpler explanation but it varies from team to team. On Wednesday morning, veteran Edmonton Elks receiver Kenny Stafford was released by the team.

Stafford signed just before training camp, giving the Elks stronger depth at receiver.

The 31 year old took first team reps with the offence for the first half of training camp and performed well.

It doesn’t appear his play on the field was the reason for his release, as explained by head coach Jamie Elizondo.

“Kenny is a good player,” Elizondo said. “We just decided to go in a different direction.

“Kenny did some good things in practice.

“There were some other things that just didn’t fit. It wasn’t a cultural fit.

“We just made a decision to go in a different direction and we wish Kenny all the best.”

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It was Stafford’s third stint with the green and gold.

He recorded a career-high with Edmonton in yards, with 781 in 2018, and a career-high in touchdowns, with nine in the championship year of 2015.

Quarterback Trevor Harris worked out with Stafford in Ohio, where they both live in the off-season. It was Harris who convinced the Elks to sign Stafford once again.

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Harris says seeing Stafford’s release is a tough pill to swallow.

“Yeah, it’s tough. I’m close with Kenny and I think everyone knows what I think of Kenny as a player,” Harris said.

“I think he’s a good football player and I’m sad to see him go.

“Anytime you lose a teammate — and obviously I just gave him a high-five, a hug and tell him that I love him — it’s really all you can do as a player at this point.

“The decisions are made for whatever reason at this point and God’s got a bigger purpose for him and needs him somewhere else,” Harris said.

Audibles

Edmonton Elks QB Trevor Harris on looking ahead to the season-opener on Aug. 7

Player profile

51 Nyles Morgan LB 6’1 235 pounds 24 Notre Dame

Edmonton Elks linebacker Nyle Morgan with the football during 2021 training camp.

Edmonton Elks linebacker Nyle Morgan with the football during 2021 training camp.

Edmonton Elks

If you check out the Elks All time All Star vote, you know the rich tradition this organization has at middle linebacker.

Nyles Morgan doesn’t know much about names like JC Sherritt, Danny Bass, Willie Pless and Dan Kepley, but he does know the job for the 2021 Elks is open.

After one year in Green and Gold, Larry Dean exited as a free agent, replaced by Justin Tuggle for the nonexistent 2020 season.

This year it’s wide open. Morgan out of Notre Dame and Keishawn Bierria have been running with the 1’s to start training camp and are the leading candidates right now.

Morgan played five games in the XFL with Seattle in 2020 and is in Edmonton fresh off playing in the Spring League with The Jousters. He’s in the process of learning the CFL game.

“It’s been fun. I’ve been enjoying myself with a new defense and a new game with 12 people out there and guys being able to move and fly around.”

Born in Crete, Illinois, Morgan grew up with Elks linebacker Vontae Diggs, who has helped with his acclimation to Edmonton and especially to the CFL game.

“I’ve had to get my eyes a lot sharper a lot faster, they got guys moving from five yards back and sometimes we have to cover those guys as linebackers.

“I think that’s probably the biggest adjustment, is getting used to the speed.”

Injuries affecting several players

For the past week, some notable players like offensive lineman SirVincent Rogers and Kyle Saxelid, along with defensive tackle Jake Ceresna, receiver Tevaun Smith and defensive backs Jonathon Mincy and Jermaine Gabriel haven’t been able to practice as they’re nursing various ailments.

Head coach Jamie Elizondo says none of the injuries appear to be overly serious.

“The end goal is Aug. 7 (season opener vs. Redblacks) for being healthy with a full tank on gas,” Elizondo said.

“So some of these guys, if it was a game, they might be able to play but we’re trying to be smart with them and bring them back at the right time.

“No main concerns. Everybody appears to be trending in the right direction and knock on wood, we’ve been fortunate so far.”

The Elks have a scheduled day-off Thursday and will return for their next scheduled on-field session on training camp on Friday morning.

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