Montreal Alouettes sign veteran middle linebacker Darnell Sankey

MONTREAL — The Montreal Alouettes announced Monday the signing of American linebacker Darnell Sankey.

The six-foot-one, 245-pound Sankey, a native of San Jose, Calif., is coming off a championship campaign, having helped the Arlington Renegades capture the XFL title in May. Sankey had 47 tackles and a sack as Arlington finished second in the South Division with a 4-6 record.

But Arlington defeated the DC Defenders 35-26 in the league's championship game May 13. Sankey secured his XFL release earlier this summer and was looking to return to the CFL.

Sankey spent two very productive seasons in Canada — leading the CFL in tackles in both 2021 and '22 — before heading to the XFL.

The 28-year-old Sankey had a club-record 120 tackles in 2022 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He also had three sacks, two forced fumbles, an interception and two special-teams tackles.

The previous season, Sankey had a CFL-high 98 tackles with the Calgary Stampeders while adding a sack and one forced fumble. He was named a West Division all-star and signed with Saskatchewan as a free agent.

After the '22 campaign, Sankey turned down a contract offer with Saskatchewan before heading to the XFL.

He won't have the luxury of time to work his way into Montreal's starting defence. The Alouettes (6-6) host the Toronto Argonauts (10-1) on Friday night to complete a home-and-home series.

Toronto defeated Montreal 39-10 at BMO Field to clinch a CFL playoff spot as well as the season series. The Alouettes are still second in the East Division standings but just ahead of the third-place Hamilton Tiger-Cats (4-7).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 11, 2023.

The Canadian Press