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Big Play VA here to stay: Lions extend Adams Jr. through 2026

VANCOUVER — The BC Lions are keeping their Most Outstanding Player in the fold through 2026 as it was announced on Wednesday that quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. has signed a two-year contract extension.

Adams was eligible to become a free agent following the 2024 campaign.

Adams Jr., 31, is coming off his best CFL season to date, emerging as the CFL’s leader with 4,769 yards on 333 completions for 18 touchdowns across 16 regular season starts. Big Play VA lived up to his nickname with eight games of at least 300 passing yards plus a passer efficiency rating of 105.5, good for third overall amongst CFL quarterbacks. He also did some damage on the ground with 48 carries for 324 yards and one major.

“It’s a huge honour for me to be under centre for this great organization for at least three more years,” said Adams Jr.

“When you factor in the key players who have committed to the franchise combined with a few great additions in free agency, it just further proves our commitment to winning and taking the next step in what is shaping up to be an exciting year for the Lions.”

Adams Jr. then set a new Lions playoff record with 413 passing yards in the Western Semi-Final win over Calgary, breaking the previous franchise mark of 375 yards set by Roy Dewalt in 1983. His three rushing touchdowns in that victory tied a new franchise playoff mark shared by Anthony Cherry, Darren Flutie, Mervyn Fernandez and Jon Volpe. For his 2023 accolades, the quarterback also earned the team nomination for CFL Most Outstanding Player.

The Inglewood, California native came to the Lions in a trade from Montreal on August 31, 2022 and dressed in eight regular season games while winning four of his six starts in place of the injured Nathan Rourke to help the squad nail down second place in the West. He finished 2022 with the Lions completing 118 of 180 passes for 1,504 yards, six touchdown passes and just one interception and added 129 rushing yards on 14 carries.

Prior to moving to the west coast, Adams Jr.’s best CFL season came in 2019 when he earned a CFL All-Star nod after passing for 3,942 yards and 24 touchdowns to go along with 394 rushing yards on 82 carries to help lead Montreal to a second-place finish in the East. His 12 rushing touchdowns in 2019 were tied with Chris Streveler and William Powell for the CFL lead.

After four years at Eastern Washington (2011-14) where he was twice named Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year, Adams Jr. moved to Oregon for his senior season and earned Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year after passing for 2,643 yards and 26 touchdowns. He would lead the Ducks to an appearance in the Alamo Bowl where they fell in triple overtime to Texas Christian.

Adams Jr.’s CFL rights were originally held by the Lions before a trade to Montreal ahead of the 2016 campaign. He would split time between the Alouettes and Saskatchewan Roughriders from 2016-17 before a return to Montreal at the start of 2018.

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