MONTREAL — He may be going in as the presumptive starting quarterback for the Montreal Alouettes, but Vernon Adams Jr. says he’ll enter the season with the mindset of fighting to keep that post.
The Alouettes announced Tuesday they’ve signed Adams to a contract extension, which goes through the 2022 season.
The pivot says it’s now up to him to run with the opportunity.
"I don’t know about No. 1 for the next three seasons for sure," Adams, 27, told reporters at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.
"Nothing is guaranteed, my mindset is going to be the same, I’m going to pretend I’m coming in at No. 4 every single year and I’m going to have fire in my eyes, in my heart and I’m just going to go hard."
After starting last season as a backup, Adams became the Als’ starting quarterback in the second game, guiding the team to a 10-8 record and its first playoff berth since 2014.
Adams was second in the CFL with 24 touchdown passes. He also had 12 rushing touchdowns and one receiving major and was named a CFL East all-star.
Adams was the CFL’s biggest threat on deep plays, completing 45 passes of more than 20 yards.
New general manager Danny Maciocia said given Adams’ age and his accomplishments last season, he was a good gamble for the club and will help attract other players when free agency opens on Feb. 11.
"We haven’t had a bonafide, elite quarterback since probably Anthony Calvillo and we wanted to secure Vernon going forward," Maciocia said.
New to his own job, Maciocia said he reached out to Adams’ representatives and both sides agreed a quick agreement was best.
"We believe he’s not only the present, but he’s the future," Maciocia said.
Adams is with the Als for the second time. He started his CFL career with Montreal in 2016 before moving to Saskatchewan and Hamilton.
The Als reacquired Adams in 2018. He is 13-6 as a starter.
Adams said he was excited to be back in the fold and "blessed and thankful for this opportunity."
He credited maturity with setting aside his NFL aspirations.
"As a young player, you think about those things, you want to try to get back to the NFL," Adams said. "When you’ve been through it, and you’ve moved around, you don’t want to take nothing for granted and you just got to be thankful for what you have."
Als head coach Khari Jones was pleased to have his quarterback return, praising Adams as coachable and a competitor with a desire and drive to get better.
"He’s a competitor and he’s a winner and there are some of those things you can’t teach that are just within you," Jones said.
"We know who our quarterback is and I’m very impressed by Vernon, both on and off the field, he’s a leader of this team and you need a guy like that moving forward."