May 28, 2015 - 11:04 AM
SURREY, B.C. - Maxx Forde was in the building when the B.C. Lions hoisted the 1994 Grey Cup. He just doesn't remember much of the game.
The club's seventh-round pick at this year's CFL draft is the son of Montreal native and former Lions linebacker Brian Forde, a member of the '94 team that won the title at B.C. Place Stadium.
"They have a little commemorative VHS tape and I'm on my dad's shoulders after the game," said Forde. "Some of my earliest memories are from around that time."
The younger Forde, who was born in New Orleans while his father was playing for the NFL's Saints, was just two years old at the time of the Lions' victory over Baltimore, but the University of Idaho product said the accomplishment is in an important part of the family's history.
"He has a nice shiny ring," said the six-foot-five 272-pound defensive lineman. "I wore it a couple times, maybe a little bit less now that I'm playing football and trying to work to get my own. Right now I'm focused on making the team, but it's definitely cool."
The 22-year-old Forde — who grew up outside of Seattle but counts as a national player because of his dual citizenship — is among a group of players who arrived the Lions' suburban practice facility on Wednesday ahead of a three-day rookie camp in Kamloops. The young hopefuls don't have long to make an impression before the veterans report for full workouts beginning Sunday.
"I've got to compete and show what I can do," said Forde. "I'm excited to do that."
Another player itching to get on the field is first-round pick Ese Mrabure-Ajufo. The six-foot-two 250-pound defensive lineman out of Wilfrid Laurier University was expecting to be taken somewhere between picks 15 and 20, but was ecstatic when the Lions called his name fifth.
"With all the craziness that's going on right now it kind of has sunk in a little bit," said the 22-year-old from Mississauga, Ont. "I'm just getting good energy from everybody.
"It's not like a dream kind of thing (anymore)."
The Lions made it clear they wanted to improve their Canadian depth, especially on the defensive line, after last season's 9-9 campaign that ended with a first-round playoff exit, but they also went after a playmaker in the third round with the selection of UNLV running back Shaquille Murray-Lawrence.
The 21-year-old from Toronto could fill the role on offence and special teams that's open after the Lions released running back/kick returner Tim Brown earlier this week as B.C. searches for a more dynamic attack in 2015.
"(I'm) an entertaining player, explosive, home-run threat," said Murray-Lawrence, who was named after former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal. "Coming to the CFL, (the Lions) were probably one of my favourite teams I wanted to come to. Being drafted by them, I was very excited."
Note: B.C. also added five international players to its roster on Wednesday, including defensive backs Alex Tillman and Myron Lewis, linebacker Terrance Bullitt, and receivers Micah Hatfield and Rickey Galvin.
Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015