Japanese running back Taku Lee makes CFL debut with Montreal Alouettes

Global running back Taku Lee from Japan made his CFL debut Saturday night with the Montreal Alouettes as they took on the B.C Lions. After spending weeks on Montreal’s practice squad, Lee was promoted to the active roster the day before the game. In a solid debut, the Japanese running back recorded one special team’s tackle and returned two kickoffs for 48 yards total yards.

Unfortunately, Montreal ended up losing the game 27-18 to the visiting Lions.

The 5’11″, 205 pound ball carrier was selected by the Alouettes as the 24th overall pick in the most recent CFL Global Draft. Before signing in the CFL, the 25-year-old was training to be a pilot for Japanese Airlines while starring for the Obic Seagulls in the Japanese X-League. The Nagoya native’s success in Japan did not go unnoticed as he was invited to the CFL combine in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the event.

Taku Lee at Japan’s CFL Combine

Despite the CFL combine’s cancellation, Lee’s football career took another huge step forward as the former X-League rookie of the year was invited to NFL International Pathway Program later that year. There, Lee trained at the IMG Academy with 10 other international prospects for a chance at an NFL roster spot. However, Lee failed to land with an NFL team at the program’s conclusion this past April. Soon thereafter, the resilient running back headed to Quebec signing with the Montreal Alouettes.

Read more about Taku Lee’s unique football journey here. 

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football