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Argos release linebacker Bear Woods days before start of training camp

TORONTO — The Argonauts have released veteran linebacker Bear Woods, a key member of Toronto's 2017 Grey Cup squad.

The move comes three days before veterans were expected to report to training camp. Woods and the Argonauts agreed on a one-year contract extension in January.

The 32-year-old Woods missed most of the 2018 season after starting the campaign on the nine-game injured list to recover from surgery for a herniated disc. He returned in Week 11 and had 29 tackles over four games.

He had 90 defensive tackles and two sacks over 17 regular-season games and six tackles in the post-season in 2017, his first campaign in Toronto after signing there as a free agent.

The six-foot, 245-pound native of Macclenny, Fla., played his previous six seasons in Montreal, where was twice selected as a CFL all-star and was named the East Division’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2014 and 2016.

Woods's 126 defensive tackles in 2016 is the sixth highest total in CFL history.

The Argos also announced that they signed seven players from its 2019 draft class: defensive lineman Robbie Smith; wide receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr.; offensive lineman Maurice Simba; defensive back Jamie Harry; long-snapper Joe Spaziani; offensive lineman Eric Starczala; and defensive lineman Trevaughn James.

The Canadian Press