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Cal Football: Kenny Lawler Leads the CFL in Receptions but Edmonton Elks are 0-3

The former Bears' wideout had a tough game on his 28th birthday Saturday night.

Kenny Lawler’s 28th birthday on Saturday probably didn’t go as well as he’d hoped.

The former Cal star and his Edmonton Elks teammates remain winless in the Canadian Football League this season, now 0-3 after a 30-23 loss to the Calgary Stampeders.

At least the Elks were competitive in this one, leading 13-10 at halftime before Calgary rallied in the Battle of Alberta.

Edmonton lost 59-15 to the BC Lions in its season opener then fell 26-16 to Saskatchewan a week ago. So this was progress.

“You don’t do enough things to win the game, you can look at it optimistically but we still came down here with every thought we’re going to win the football game,” Elks coach Chris Jones told the Edmonton Sun.

“We got an opportunity, we got a lead and couldn’t protect the lead due to a bunch of factors. All three phases in the second half did not play very well.”

Lawler, who played for Cal from 2013 through ’15, had his least productive outing of the season against the Stampeders, who improved to 3-0.

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A week after catching 12 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown against Saskatchewan, Lawler was targeted nine times but held to three receptions for 21 yards.

Even so, he leads the CFL with 20 catches in three games, for 242 yards with one TD.

But the winning hasn’t happened. He played with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers the two previous seasons (2019 and ’21 with the CFL canceling its 2020 campaign due to the pandemic).

Not only did Lawler enjoy individual success, totaling 107 receptions for 1,651 yards and 10 TDs, the Blue Bombers won the CFL’s Grey Cup title both seasons.

This offseason he signed a $300,000 contract with Edmonton — highest in the league among non-quarterbacks — but joined a team that was 3-11 last season, finishing last in the CFL’s West Division.

That’s exactly where the Elks reside so far in 2022, but maybe that changes on Friday when they play the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, also still seeking their first victory after three games.

Cover photo of Kenny Lawler courtesy of the Edmonton Elks

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo