NFL veteran Christian Covington a 'perfect addition' to B.C. Lions roster | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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NFL veteran Christian Covington a 'perfect addition' to B.C. Lions roster

B.C. Lions defensive lineman Christian Covington, back left, smiles as he and fellow defensive lineman Pete Robertson take a break during the CFL football team's training camp in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 13, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER - Christian Covington probably could have finagled his way out of making an appearance in the B.C. Lions’ rookie talent show.

After all, he isn’t exactly new to professional football. The 30-year-old defensive lineman played 102 NFL games and registered 196 combined tackles over nine seasons before signing with his hometown Lions as a free agent in May.

And yet, Covington gamely took a spot among the new additions at training camp last month, and belted out “Amazing Grace."

“I’m just like ‘Ah, these people can’t boo God,'" he said of the song choice. "And not to toot my own horn, but I think I brought the house down.”

Covington knows the importance of a strong team and if singing was going to help build his credibility with the Lions, he was ready to perform.

“At the end the day, I want to be a part of this team in any way, shape or form," he explained. "And that's how team chemistry gets started. It's being able to roll with the punches, roll with the jokes, and just be able to make fun of yourself. So, it's all good and fun."

The Lions have long wanted Covington on their roster.

B.C. originally picked him 43rd overall in the 2015 CFL entry draft, but the Rice University alum opted to play in the NFL instead after being selected in the sixth round by the Houston Texans the same year.

He played four seasons for the Texans, followed by stints with the Dallas Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Chargers, then attended training camp with the Detroit Lions in 2023.

When he didn't cement a spot on Detroit's roster, Covington returned to L.A. and spent the season on the Chargers' practice squad.

It was a "humbling" experience, he said.

"I missed the football field, I missed playing this game."

With a limited number of NFL jobs available, Covington began looking elsewhere for opportunities. Returning to Vancouver, the city where he grew up, made sense.

"For me, I just see this as an opportunity for me to continue doing the sport that I love," he said.

Covington is no stranger to the CFL.

His father is Grover Covington, who spent a decade playing defensive end for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the 1980s and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

The elder Covington even won a Grey Cup at the Lions' home stadium in 1986 — a feat his son will look to repeat this season, with Vancouver set to once again host the championship in November.

“I wanted to be able to continue my career in any way, shape or form," Covington said. "I looked at my options and this was the best option for me, to be able to come back and continue my career really as quickly as possible.”

The six-foot-two, 300-pound NFL veteran has been a "perfect addition" to the Lions' locker room, said cornerback Garry Peters.

“He’s been nothing but positive, he’s been nothing but uplifting for the young guys," he said. “He’s a monster on the field, too. Off the field, he’s just a big teddy bear. But off the field, he’s such a great person.”

Covington saw his first regular-season CFL action on Sunday in B.C.'s 35-27 loss to the Argonauts in Toronto. He registered one defensive tackle in the outing, a performance that defensive coordinator Ryan Phillips saw as a solid start.

“I'm happy he's on our side, obviously. His performance was good in this last game. We could have helped him get a few more sacks and things like that … but I like where he's at right now," Phillips said.

"And the future is definitely gonna be bright as far as the rest of the season."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2024.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2024
The Canadian Press

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