Winnipeg Blue Bombers #89 Kenny Lawler during the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Vs. Edmonton Eskimos game at IG Field Friday May 31, 2019
It is a process that is two parts headache and one part heartache for Mike O’Shea and the rest of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers coaching staff, but they have slogged through the necessary evil that is cutdown day. In advance of Saturday night’s roster deadline, the Bombers announced the release of 17 players, while another 11 were cut and then added to the practice roster.
Released after a competitive training camp that included a pair of wins in two preseason games were:
- Quarterback Bryan Bennett
- Defensive linemen Brandin Bryant, Alex McCalister, Maxx Forde*, Tariq Lachance*
- Defensive backs Amari Coleman, Tyneil Cooper, Joe Este
- Running backs Larry Rose III, John Santiago
- Offensive lineman Tanner Farmer
- Receivers Corey Washington, Matt Hazel, Rashaun Simonise*, Dylan Schrot*
- Long-snapper Zach Greenberg*
- Kicker Gabriel Amavizca-Ortiz
The 11 players placed on the practice roster were:
- Centre Tui Eli*
- Defensive tackle Connor Griffiths*
- Running back Johnny Augustine*
- Defensive backs Mike Jones, Marcus Rios, Chris Humes, Sergio Schiaffino-Perez
- Defensive end Patrick Choudja
- Receiver Kenny Walker
- Linebacker Dale Warren, Manuel Hernandez-Reyes
As well, import offensive lineman Manase Foketi was placed on the retired list.
FYI, the 45-man roster is to include 21 nationals, 20 internationals, three quarterbacks and one global player. The practice rosters can feature up to 10 players, plus a maximum of two global players. The injured lists won’t officially be announced until Friday, the day before the Bombers open their 2019 season in Vancouver against the B.C. Lions.
The list of those released outright was topped by Bennett, who served as the third-string pivot last year and had an excellent camp. The third-string gig now belongs to rookie Sean McGuire, who is 23 – four years younger than Bennett – and helped author the game-winning drive in last Thursday’s preseason win in Regina.
The other ‘name’ cuts included Simonise, who was the club’s first pick (12thoverall) in the 2018 CFL Draft and defensive tackle Brandin Bryant.
The Bombers plan to start two Canadians at receiver in Drew Wolitarsky and Nic Demski, and Daniel Petermann (selected 14 spots after Simonise last year) has morphed into a reliable target.
Bryant, who dressed for 10 games a year ago and made nine starts, appears to have lost his job to Steven Richardson – the fire-hydrant-type tackle nicknamed ‘Stove’ during his college days at Minnesota. As well, the team is still contemplating starting Jake Thomas at tackle alongside Drake Nevis as one of the seven Canadian starters.
Also notable from the moves Saturday:
– Two players who made at least one start were released in Corey Washington (three starts) and Tyneil Cooper (five games played).
– Tariq Lachance, a sixth-round pick this year, was released. Of the club’s nine 2019 draft picks, seven are on the squad or practice roster: OL Drew Desjarlais (1st round, 4th overall); DL Jonathan Kongbo (1/5); RB Brady Oliveira (2/14); DL Connor Griffiths (3/25); OL Tui Eli (4/34); DB Nick Hallett (7/61), and DB Kerfalla Exumé (8/70).
Receiver Malik Richards, a fifth-round pick, was released in rookie camp after suffering a leg injury and was signed by the Edmonton Eskimos.
In addition to McGuire, Richardson and the draft picks mentioned above, the other new faces on the team or practice roster include receivers Chris Matthews (who returns after a stint in the NFL and with Calgary last fall), Lucky Whitehead, Kenny Lawler, Rasheed Bailey and Kenny Walker; offensive lineman Jamar McGloster; defensive ends Willie Jefferson and Patrick Choudja; linebackers DJ Lalama, Nick Temple, Thiadric Hansen, Dale Warren and Manuel Hernandez-Reyes; and defensive backs Winston Rose, Dexter Janke, Mike Jones, Marcus Rios, Chris Humes and Sergio Schiaffino-Perez.
Understanding that a lot can change between now and then, here’s a look at who is still standing after Saturday’s carnage:
Matt Nichols, Chris Streveler, Sean McGuire
Andrew Harris*, Brady Oliveira*, Mike Miller*, John Rush*
Practice roster: Johnny Augustine*
Darvin Adams, Chris Matthews, Drew Wolitarsky*, Nic Demski*, Daniel Petermann*, Kenny Lawler, Lucky Whitehead, Rasheed Bailey, Charles Nelson
Practice roster: Kenny Walker
Stanley Bryant, Pat Neufeld*, Michael Couture*, Jermarcus Hardrick, Drew Desjarlais*, Cody Speller*, Geoff Gray*, Jamar McGloster
Practice roster: Tui Eli*
Willie Jefferson, Drake Nevis, Jake Thomas*, Jackson Jeffcoat, Craig Roh, Steven Richardson, Jonathan Kongbo* (injured)
Practice roster: Connor Griffiths, Patrick Choudja
Adam Bighill, Anthony Gaitor, Kyrie Wilson, Thomas Miles*, Jesse Briggs*, Shayne Gauthier*, DJ Lalama*, Nick Temple, Thiadric Hansen
Practice roster: Dale Warren, Manuel Hernandez-Reyes
Chandler Fenner, Marcus Sayles, Jeff Hecht*, Brandon Alexander, Winston Rose, Derek Jones*, Dexter Janke*, Kerfalla Exumé*, Nick Hallet*
Practice roster: Mike Jones, Marcus Rios, Chris Humes, Sergio Schiaffino-Perez
Kicker: Justin Medlock
Long-snapper: Chad Rempel*