November 22, 2023

Lions Sign Seven, Including ‘Stove’ Richardson

The BC Lions on Wednesday announced that seven players have signed contracts for 2024:

American defensive lineman Steven ‘Stove’ Richardson
American running back Vance McShane
American wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt
American offensive lineman Jacky Chen
American defensive back Rico Gafford
National offensive lineman Tyler Packer
National wide receiver Kieran Poissant

Richardson (5’11, 304 lbs)- ‘Stove’ is back with the Lions after originally signing with the squad early in 2022 free agency. A pair of Achilles injuries suffered that year would prevent him from suiting up. In 21 games over two seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2019, ’21), Richardson amassed 38 defensive tackles, six sacks, and a forced fumble while helping the Bombers capture back-to-back Grey Cup championships. In 48 games at the University of Minnesota from 2014-17, Stove racked up 103 tackles, 28.5 tackles for a loss, 12.5 sacks, and five forced fumbles. During his senior season with the Gophers, he tallied 23 tackles and added one forced fumble while being named an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention.

Eberhardt (6’2, 195 lbs)- following a strong showing in 2023 training camp, Eberhardt earned a practice roster spot and would suit up for a pair of regular season games while hauling in five receptions for 69 yards. He appeared in 42 games over five seasons (2017-21) at the University of Wyoming and recorded 764 yards on 50 receptions. He was also named to the All-Mountain West Athletic team in his senior season with the Cowboys.

Chen (6’6, 310 lbs)- returns to the squad after a stint on the practice roster as part of the 2023 roster expansion. Prior to moving north, Chen attended training camp with the Minnesota Vikings. Chen suited up in 31 games at Pace University. As a senior in 2022, he would earn an invite to the East-West Shrine Bowl and NE10 First-Team All-Conference honours. In 2019, he helped the Pace offence rack up over 3,700 yards with 22 passing touchdowns and ten rushing touchdowns.

McShane (5’6, 190 lbs)- originally signed with the Lions in March 2023 and reported to the practice squad as part of the September expansion. Transferred to Northern Iowa for final two years of college eligibility and recorded 1,042 yards and eight touchdowns on 189 total carries while adding 11 receptions for 99 yards and a major across 20 games.

Gafford (5’11, 182 lbs)- also returns following a September practice roster stint. Gafford began his pro career by signing with the Tennessee Titans as a non-drafted free agent in 2018 and was waived by the team following training camp before signing on with the Oakland Raiders. After switching his primary position to wide receiver, Gafford made his pro debut for the Raiders in a special teams role on December 24, 2018 against Denver. After beginning the 2019 campaign on the practice roster, Rico was activated again and hauled in his first career reception on a pass from David Carr against Tennessee on December 8. In four contests that season, he recorded a pair of receptions for 66 yards in four games.

After spending most of 2020 on the Raiders’ practice roster, Rico had training camp and practice squad stints in Arizona, Buffalo, Denver and Green Bay from 2021-22. He spent part of 2023 with the USFL Birmingham Stallions where he once again moved from defensive back to wide receiver.

Packer (6’6, 315 lbs)- is back with the club after spending 2023 on the practice roster. He suited up in a pair of regular season games in 2022, one year after being selected in round six (51st overall) of the CFL Draft. Packer played 29 total games for the Calgary Dinos from 2017-21 and was the program’s first rookie to start at tackle since former Lion Kirby Fabien in 2009. Started at right tackle for the 2019 Vanier Cup when the Dinos won their first U SPORTS championship since 1995. Names Canada West Rookie of the Year in 2017 and a Canada West All-Star in 2018.

Poissant (6’0, 175 lbs)- attended 2023 Lions training camp as a territorial exemption and suited up in both pre-season contests before returning to the BCFC Westshore Rebels. Over the last three years at Westshore, Poissant hauled in 146 receptions for 2,314 yards, and 25 touchdowns.