Winnipeg Blue Bombers announce opt outs for Kenny Lawler and Thiadric Hansen

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have opened the door for two members of their 2019 Grey Cup championship squad to seek NFL employment following the cancellation of the 2020 CFL season because of failed negotiations for a $30-million interest-free loan from the federal government.

Receiver Kenny Lawler and reserve linebacker and special teamer Thiadric Hansen have been granted the opportunity along with free agents David Kenney, Makinton Dorleant, Malcolm Lewis, Deontez Alexander, Ranthony Texada, Isaiah Johnson, and Travin Durai who had signed with the Blue Bombers during the off-season.

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Lawler was Winnipeg’s nominee for CFL Rookie of the Year with 43 catches for 637 yards and four touchdowns in 16 regular-season games. The former Seattle Seahawk draft pick added another eight receptions for 126 yards and a major in three playoff contests.

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Hansen was the Blue Bombers’ selection in the league’s first-ever European draft and the former Potsdam Royal made quite the impact in his first North American professional season — especially with his thundering hit on Hamilton returner Frankie Williams in the second quarter of Winnipeg’s 33-12 win over the Tiger-Cats in the Grey Cup.

Read more: Blue Bombers select German linebacker in CFL European Draft

Both players are expected to return to the Bombers for the 2021 season if they are not under contract at that time in the NFL.

The league said it required a loan from the government to hold a shortened season because the continuing impact of COVID-19 would not have allowed for any fans in the stands at IG Field, where all the games would have been played.

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