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Fan favourite, Simoni Lawrence returning to Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2021

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Fan favourite, Simoni Lawrence returning to Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2021

Hamilton Tiger Cats Simoni Lawrence celebrates his sack against the Saskatchewan Roughriders during second half CFL football game action in Hamilton, Ont. on Thursday, June 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced Tuesday the football club has re-signed American linebacker, Simoni Lawrence.

Lawrence returns to the Tiger-Cats for his eighth season and ninth year overall with the team in 2021.

Lawrence, 31, started 15 games for the Tiger-Cats in 2019, leading the Canadian Football League in defensive tackles (98) and defensive plays made (117), while tying a career-high with three interceptions and adding four quarterback sacks, seven pass knockdowns, one fumble recovery and four tackles for loss.

The University of Minnesota product was named the East Division’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player for the second time in his career (2015), while also earning his second CFL all-star selection (2015) and fourth divisional all-star appointment (2014, 15, 16). He set a CFL single-game record in Week 16 at Winnipeg with 17 defensive tackles (Reggie Hunt – 16) against the Blue Bombers.

“Simoni routinely brings positive energy and an infectious daily work ethic to our football team,” said Orlondo Steinauer, Head Coach of the Tiger-Cats. “He is a great leader and premier playmaker, who also strives to make a difference in our community off the field. We’re very excited Simoni and his family have chosen to remain in Hamilton.”

The 6-1, 228-pound native of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania has appeared in 128-career CFL games (113 starts) with the Edmonton Eskimos (2012) and Tiger-Cats (2013-20), registering 533 defensive tackles, 26 quarterback sacks, 11 interceptions, 10 forced fumbles and 18 special teams tackles.

He has also seen action in 20 playoff games with Hamilton, including three Grey Cup appearances in 2013, 2014 and 2019. Lawrence holds the Tiger-Cats’ franchise record with 533 career defensive tackles after surpassing Rob Hitchcock (484) in 2019, and currently sits second behind only Hitchcock (606) in total tackles with 551.

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