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October 20, 2021

Rose returns to the Blue & Gold

The stingiest and most-feared defensive unit in the Canadian Football League is about to become even more frightening for offences across the land.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers announced on Wednesday that the club has agreed to a one-year deal with defensive back Winston Rose, who returns north after spending the 2020 season with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The signing became official while the team was in meetings and following the team’s media availability on Wednesday. The CFL’s interception leader in 2019, with nine, is expected in Winnipeg sometime during next week during their bye. The news also comes one day after the Bombers shored up their kicking concerns by adding veteran Sergio Castillo, meaning a team that is 9-1 and has a chance to clinch first place in the West Division with a win Saturday night against the B.C. Lions has just added two faces to its roster for another championship run.

 

Rose first signed with the Bengals on December 31, 2019, just over a month after helping the Bombers capture the Grey Cup. The 27-year-old product of Inglewood, CA spent all of 2020 on Cincinnati’s practice roster, ultimately suiting up for two regular season games but not seeing any action. He was waived and added to their practice roster at the end of training camp this year before being released on September 6th.

In addition to his league-leading nine picks – including one Pick-6 – Rose added 58 tackles while starting all 18 regular season games with the Bombers in 2019. He also added 15 more tackles and an interception in the Bombers’ epic three-game postseason that culminated in the Grey Cup. It’s uncertain where Rose might line up in the Bombers secondary upon his return. The club is getting outstanding play from veteran Mike Jones at the one corner, while DeAundre Alford has emerged as a legitimate CFL Most Outstanding Rookie candidate at the other.

Halfback Nick Taylor, who missed last week’s win over Edmonton, is likely to return to the lineup soon – perhaps as soon as Saturday night – and Deatrick Nichols, the former XFL star, has been solid at the other halfback spot. Brandon Alexander is the best safety in the CFL and the club has got steady work from veteran Alden Darby in the Dime spot.

The Bombers lead the CFL in interceptions with 12 – three each from Alford and Nichols, tied for the league lead – and have forced a league-best 30 turnovers. Winnipeg also has the second-stingiest defence in the league against the pass, allowing just 229.6 yards per game (Edmonton is first at 212.3) and surrendered just three passing touchdowns all season.