The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have started assembling their forces for a run at a fourth straight Grey Cup appearance.
The Blue Bombers announced Saturday that they have signed all-star defensive end Willie Jefferson to a one-year contract extension. Jefferson was set to become a free agent in February.
The six-foot-seven, 242-pound Jefferson is a four-time CFL all-star and was named the league's outstanding defensive player in 2019.
the native of Beaumont, Texas, was named a West Division all-star in 2022 after leading the club with seven sacks.
He added 33 tackles, one interception for a touchdown, two forced fumbles and 10 pass knockdowns.
Jefferson joined the Blue Bombers in 2019. He has 57 sacks and 202 tackles over 126 career CFL games with Edmonton, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg.
Winnipeg won a Grey Cup title in 2019, Jefferson's first with the team, and repeated in 2021. There was no Grey Cup game in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Blue Bombers advanced to a third straight Grey Cup this season before losing a wild 24-23 game to the Toronto Argonauts in Regina.
With Jefferson in place, the Bombers now turn to bringing back other parts of their team, including head coach Mike O'Shea.
O'Shea, who won his second straight CFL coach of the year award in 2022, is set to become a free agent at the end of the year and has said he won't address his future with the club until exit interviews with players are finished.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2022.