B.C. Lions Coaching camp: The ageless Shawn Lemon prepared for his annual train of proving the doubters incorrect

Shawn Lemon returns to the B.C. Lions coming off a profession 12 months on the age of 34 and a West Division Defensive MOP award in his pocket.

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Shawn Lemon, that is 40.

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No, the veteran B.C. Lions defensive lineman hasn’t cracked a fourth decade on planet Earth but — he’s a mere 34 years outdated — however that’s the quantity he’ll put on in his third spin across the CFL with the Leos.

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The primary time, No. 40 was already taken when he arrived in 2018, so he went with No. 9, and shaped the fearsome Sept. 11 line with Odell Willis. He had 10 sacks and Willis 11 that season.

“I’ve all the time gained Gray Cups with 40,” stated Lemon, who returned to the West Coast as a free-agent signing this February.

“That’s one factor I needed to deliver to B.C. final time I used to be right here, however I couldn’t get it. So I simply acquired 9 as a result of it was accessible.

“However each Gray Cup I’ve gained, I’ve gained with 40.”

Age has been the storyline utilized to the venerable lineman even earlier than the COVID-cancelled 2020 season, however the 6-foot-2, 240-pound move rush specialist arrived in B.C. from Calgary coming off the perfect statistical 12 months of his profession.

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Fourteen sacks, a part of the Stamps league-leading 56. 5 pressured fumbles and 29 tackles. A West Division and CFL all-star. And winner of the Western defensive MOP — the Norm Fieldgate trophy — and arguably ought to have gained the CFL DMOP as nicely.

Edmonton felt he was too outdated after they parted methods with him after coaching camp in 2021, and all he did was return to Calgary and rack up eight sacks — two greater than Thomas Costigan did because the Elks’ high move rusher that season. After two robust seasons with Calgary, they too turned their backs on him, and didn’t provide him a contract for this 12 months.

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“I don’t know. I don’t suppose I’m as appreciated as a participant,” he stated Saturday from coaching camp in Kamloops.

“I simply suppose individuals get uninterested in consistency. I feel lots of occasions individuals are simply on the lookout for that subsequent one-trick pony or subsequent new up-and-coming factor as a substitute of ‘OK, like how extra spectacular is it gonna be if Shawn Lemon will get double-digit sacks? He’s carried out it already, quite a few occasions.’

“I don’t suppose it amazes individuals anymore.”

Lorenzo Mauldin IV, the Ottawa RedBlacks participant who beat him out for defensive MOP, had 17 sacks and 43 tackles, however he additionally performed for an Ottawa RedBlacks group that missed the playoffs, tied for the league’s worst report, and had the second-worst defence, statistically. Was Lemon a extra deserving winner? Possibly.

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“In the event you have a look at the NBA, totally different gamers after they do sure issues, individuals are not likely impressed anymore as a result of they’ve seen them do it so many occasions,” he stated.

Who do you suppose you’re, Lemon? LeBron?

“Not at all am I’m saying I’m like LeBron James,” he stated, laughing.

“However you could possibly give him MVP of the league yearly taking a look at his numbers in comparison with different individuals’s. However they don’t, as a result of individuals take that as a right.

“(Not profitable DMOP) drove me the entire offseason. I really feel like I did every little thing to win that, however I didn’t. That’s simply how I’m as an individual; I all the time discover issues to inspire me,” he stated. “I all the time put the chip on my shoulder. And that places a chip on my shoulder.”

Don’t ask Lemon what number of CFL groups he’s performed for — “I don’t know, man,” he stated, chuckling — however the quantity is six, with a number of stops at three of them — together with runs with two groups within the Indoor Soccer league and Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Maybe he was pigeon-holed as a pass-rusher early in his profession, and given a label as a prima-donna for having the audacity to be handsomely paid in step with his efficiency, however that’s positively not who he’s grow to be within the latter third of his 11-year CFL profession. He’s mellowed in all however his manufacturing.

“I’ve been like this my complete life. I’ve all the time taken delight in what are the issues that I can management. And what I can management is my effort on the sector, my play on the sector,” he stated. “It doesn’t matter what the system or scheme is … I’ve performed in lots of totally different programs. Perceive the scheme, perceive the co-ordinator, and learn the way to make performs throughout the construction. Be an affect participant.

“All the time attempt to undergo a follow or a recreation to a minimum of have you already know two or three impactful performs the place coaches can see why I’m as particular as a participant I’m.”

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The Lions entered the image for his companies when Calgary determined Lemon wasn’t well worth the cash, with B.C. in want of some veteran management on the line of defense. Tweaks to the ratio guidelines means there was a gap for B.C. so as to add the Charleston, S.C., native to the roster. The pre-camp pondering is that he’ll rotate with Sione Teuhema on one finish, whereas Mathieu Betts and David Menard do the identical on the opposite. Josh Banks and Woody Baron had been anticipated to fill the center at sort out.

As a unit final 12 months, the Lions completed third within the CFL in sacks with 45 — paced by Menard (9) and Teuhema (8) — whereas averaging a good 94.1 yards dashing per recreation in opposition to (4th).

“I’m simply attempting to let these guys know that I’ve been round most different locations across the league, and we now have an incredible D-line right here,” he stated. “We simply acquired to exit and put it on movie.

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“We lead the league in sacks in Calgary by 12. One of many first issues that I stated to the group of fellows right here is: ‘We’ve greater than what we had in that room in Calgary. We led the league in sacks. We did that there, and we will do this right here, too,’” he stated, including he felt B.C.’s secondary was higher than an injury-decimated Stampeders unit.

“One factor that that’s carried me alongside in my profession is having confidence, talking issues into existence, and that’s what I’m attempting to do right here. As quickly as I met (Josh) Banks, I informed him he has the potential to be an all-star, simply from me watching his movie. I’m letting guys know that I see greatness in them, and so they can do every little thing that I’ve carried out on this league. So simply attempting to get these reps in now, and convey these (accomplishments) to fruition.”

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[email protected]

Twitter.com/TheRealJJAdams


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