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September 20, 2022

‘I’m looking forward to Friday’: Jamal Davis ready to terrorize CFL quarterbacks

Jamal Davis’ tenure with the Los Angeles Chargers didn’t end the way he expected. After putting together a strong camp this summer, the Als defensive end found out he was being released in early September. There were a few other teams NFL teams that were interested in bringing him in for workouts, but he didn’t waste any time coming back to Montreal.

This wasn’t the 27-year-old’s first taste of NFL life. Prior to joining the Alouettes in 2021, he had stints with Houston, Indianapolis, Miami, Tennessee, and Cleveland. He suited up for three games with Miami in 2019, but Charger reporters and fans seem to be genuinely excited about the possibility of Davis sticking on the roster this time.

“The experience [with the Chargers] was great,” Davis said after Monday’s practice at Complexe Sportif Marie-Victorin.

“I thought I did amazing. You come in focused and wanting to prove to the coaching staff that you’re good enough. I felt that I did that. I started two of three (preseason games) and had really good stats. So, I don’t know what happened there, but I’m here now and I’m an Alouette.

“Honestly, I love football the game of football so much, whether it’s the CFL or the NFL, I’m happy wherever. I’m happy to be here, and wherever I can help my team go far, that’s where I’m happy. I’m not down at all, I’m not depressed, I wasn’t mad. Everything happens for a reason. So, let’s go and let’s make it happen.”

Not only did the Canton, Ohio native commit to returning to the Als organization this year, but he also inked a deal that would keep him under team control through 2023 as well. He admitted that he feels comfortable in Montreal and enjoys the teammates and coaches that are here. He’s also secure enough to pump the breaks on his NFL aspirations for now.

Davis played in nine games with the Als last season but was a disruptive force as soon as he was put into the lineup. He finished with four quarterback sacks, a fumble recovery for a touchdown, and 17 tackles in his first taste of CFL action.

He was so productive that Alouettes GM Danny Maciocia felt comfortable enough to trade the starter at the time, Antonio Simmons, to Edmonton in the move that brought Trevor Harris to Montreal last October.

Davis now joins a defensive line with some new faces on it, but one with a lot of depth. He’ll be joining veterans Almondo Sewell, Nick Usher, Mike Wakefield, Mike Moore and youngsters like Thomas Costigan and Mustafa Johnson.

The Als have changed things up on defence since Davis was last with the team, as Noel Thorpe took over as defensive coordinator earlier this season. Even though there is a new scheme to pick up and adjustments that need to be made, the rush-end is confident in his ability to pick up the system quickly.

“I’m coming back to amazing people,” he said.

“Coach Thorpe’s defence, I love it as well. I love everything that he’s bringing to the table, and coach (Greg) Quick is breaking down the defence with me every day and it’s getting easier and easier. I’m looking forward to Friday and showing the fans that I’m back.”

Quick, who has more than 40 years of experience coaching at the professional and college levels, will help make Davis’ transition back to Canada easier. The 65-year-old took over as Montreal’s defensive line coach after Todd Howard was fired last September. He’s familiar with his latest addition’s abilities and plans to put him in a position to succeed.

“First of all, from a personal level, it’s like the prodigal son coming home,” Quick said on Monday afternoon. “It’s more biblical than that because of the teammates that are here, who have been showing love and they’ve worked hard, and now a man comes back. So, it’s the same. We have to kill the fatted calf, he’s coming back, but now we have to move forward.

“He’s a fine young man. He brings great character and great effort, and he’s a pleasure to be around. Even more so than that, it’s about how he uses the skills that he has. He has great physical skills, great technique, and he’s willing to put the time in necessary to process and apply the knowledge and use it with those physical and technical skills that he has.”

Davis will suit up as soon as this Friday’s game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Percival Molson Stadium. That game will arguably be the most important one of the season as the Ticats are just two points behind the Als for second place in the East Division. On top of that, this game will also determine who wins the head-to-head matchup, which is the first tiebreaker.

“We have a great defensive line, a great front-seven, great defensive backs, everybody,” he added. “It’s just an amazing defence, and the offence, too. Trevor [Harris] leading those guys, is amazing. So, coming back to this, I feel we have something special.”

ALS NOTES:

Every CFL team can expand their practice roster by five names for one month after NFL teams make their final cuts. The Als have opted to open their window now, which has allowed them to add some new names to their roster.

On Saturday, the team signed former Redblacks defensive back Ranthony Texada. He had an interception in the game the Als lost at home to Ottawa on Sep. 2. The 27-year-old had played in seven games for Ottawa this season.

On Sunday, they added a pair of American linebackers in Jaylan Alexander (Purdue) and Rashaad Harding (Liberty).

And on Monday, they signed left-handed quarterback Felix Harper from Alcorn State. Harper spent some time with the Cleveland Browns before signing with the Als.