“I’ve always had that chip on my shoulder.” Vernon Adams Jr. ready to prove he’s a #1 QB with the BC Lions


After spending eight seasons in the Canadian Football League (CFL), Vernon Adams Jr. is looking forward to his opportunity as the clear-cut number-one starting quarterback for the BC Lions.

A mobile quarterback, Adams Jr. has spent most of his time on the move in the CFL.

His career in Canada began in 2016 when the Lions traded Adams Jr.’s playing rights to the Montreal Alouettes for a first-round pick in the 2017 CFL Draft. The quarterback would see action in three games late in his rookie campaign.

The quarterback was sent to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in a trade the following summer, and Adams Jr.’s only action with the green and white was in short-yardage duty.

The following winter saw the Roughriders trade the former Oregon Duck to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for Charleston Hughes. Adams Jr. was released by the Tiger-Cats that June. He would return to the Alouettes organization a short time later. He would get some playing time that year as he replaced Johnny Manziel before he suffered an injury.

2019 was Adams Jr.’s best season as an Alouette after he replaced Antonio Pipkin as the team’s starter early in the season. He had 3,942 passing yards, 342 rushing yards 24 passing touchdowns and 12 rushing touchdowns.

After the pandemic wiped away the 2020 season, Adams Jr. returned to Montreal as the number one QB to begin the 2021 season, but injuries forced the quarterback to the sidelines.

Last year, Adams Jr. was replaced by Trevor Harris as the team’s starting quarterback. After Nathan Rourke suffered a foot injury, Adams Jr career came full circle as he was sent to the Lions by the Alouettes in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2023 CFL Draft. The 30-year-old assumed the starter’s role in Week 15 before giving way to Rourke once the Canadian returned from his injury.

With Rourke signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League, the path is now clear for Adams Jr. to take over the starting role in BC.

On Tuesday’s edition of the SportsCage, the Lions quarterback joined Michael Ball. He said he always felt like he had something to prove, especially with his height. Adams Jr. says that he is probably the second smallest quarterback in professional football, only trailing Arizona Cardinals Kyler Murray. Adams Jr. height is listed as 5″11.

“I’ve always had that chip on my shoulder being a shorter, black quarterback.”

Before entering the CFL, the Pasadena product had a standout senior year with the Oregon Ducks. Despite his college success, Adams Jr. was not selected in the 2016 NFL Draft and received an invite to the Seattle Seahawks rookie camp.

This season the Lions quarterback is looking forward to proving his critics wrong. He says winning will silence his doubters.

“Winning solves everything.” He added, “As long we start off winning and everything like that, everything will be all good.”

An American quarterback needs time to transition to the Canadian game according to Adams Jr. He said stepping onto the field early in his career was difficult for him.

“When I got in there as a rookie, the CFL game is so much faster than what you thought it was and then it kind of humbles yourself.”

After his rough start to the league, the quarterback said it was in his best interest to watch players like Kevin Glenn, Darian Durant and Jeremiah Masoli prepare themselves for the game.

Now Adams Jr. will head into the season trying to prove himself as a top starting quarterback in the CFL.

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