Former Dinos star Adam Konar signs on to ride with Stampeders

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Adam Konar is coming back to the field that made him famous.

The Calgary Stampeders have signed the veteran Canadian linebacker, who was formerly a standout at McMahon Stadium in U SPORTS football with University of Calgary Dinos, to a contract for the 2024 Canadian Football League season.

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“My time here before was super important,” said the 30-year-old Konar after news of his agreement with the club was announced Monday. “You know, I was struggling in school and stuff before I came to U of C. So coming to U of C helped me finish my (communications) degree, first of all. And obviously, it put me in that next step to reach the CFL and pursue my football career. It put me in a good spot for that, as well.

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“So it helped me to grow a lot and also helped me make a lot of connections and build a lot of relationships with people in Calgary and guys I played with in Calgary.”

The Vancouver native was a first-team Canada West and U SPORTS all-star with the Dinos in 2014 before being selected in the third round by the Edmonton squad in the 2015 CFL Draft. He played four seasons in Edmonton before signing with the Lions in 2019 and spending two seasons with the B.C. club. He returned to Edmonton in 2022 to play with the Elks.

But he was released from the struggling club after their ugly 4-14 season, and Stampeders GM/head coach Dave Dickenson reached out to bring him here.

“It wasn’t even in my mind, to be honest,” said Konar, of joining the Stampeders. “When I got drafted to Edmonton and played there the first four years and then went back (after playing in B.C.), I honestly never even really thought of Calgary as being a possibility. And so that’s why I got super excited when they reached out and were interested in me.

“The more I thought about it, the more I thought I just had to take advantage of being a free agent right now and getting that chance to sign here. It’s just I never really thought this opportunity would come. But the fact that it did, it made me super excited to be a part of it and get that chance to play here.”

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Konar joins the Red and White after playing 101 career CFL regular-season games over eight seasons with the Lions and the franchise in Edmonton. He has accumulated 221 career tackles including three tackles for losses, 37 special-teams stops, five sacks, four interceptions, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 10 knockdowns. He also has four career games played in the CFL post-season.

In 2023 with the Elks, the 6-foot-2, 225-lb. Konar played all 18 games and recorded a career-high 73 tackles.

“As far as I know, Dickenson wants me to compete for the middle linebacker spot, which was a big reason I wanted to sign here,” Konar said. “I know I’ll be able to compete for that spot. And I know I’ll be able to help out on special teams.

“I bring a veteran presence, obviously, to the locker room and some leadership and accountability and stuff like that.”

Konar’s father, Kevin, played 10 seasons from 1980-89 with the Lions and was a two-time CFL all-star.

“Calgary’s been super consistent organization over the years, so I’m excited to see what it’s like being a part of it and seeing how it’s different to what I’ve been in before,” added Konar. “Getting released from Edmonton kind of opened up that that door. Dickenson reached out, and it was a smooth negotiation process. And once that opportunity came up, I figured I’m going into Year 9, so I’d love to finish out the last few years of my career — however long it might be — in Calgary.

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“It’s kind of the perfect fitting end to the career.”

GRAHAM RE-UPS

The Stamps were also busy Monday re-signing Canadian defensive lineman Elliot Graham.

Graham, 25, has played 25 regular-season games and one playoff contest in three seasons with the Stampeders since being drafted in 2021.

The 6-foot-3, 253-lb. Hamilton native has played primarily on special teams for the Red and White and has nine career special-teams tackles as well as three defensive tackles and one forced fumble. In 2023, he had two defensive tackles, two special-teams tackles and one forced fumble in nine games before seeing his season come to an end because of a shoulder injury.

The former USPORTS star played both as a defensive lineman and a linebacker with the UBC Thunderbirds, accumulating 87 tackles in 23 career contests in varsity football. He holds the school record for the longest interception-return touchdown at 107 yards, which he accomplished in a 2017 game against the Manitoba Bisons.

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