June 3, 2023

Roster cut down by 25

2nd Half - Jeremy Murphy 74 - Amare Jones 16 touchdown celebration

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers still have some lineup decisions to complete over the next few days, but the roster they’ll take into the 2023 Canadian Football League season will look very, very familiar.

And that shouldn’t exactly shock anyone across the three-down neighbourhood, given this club’s three-straight Grey Cup appearances including back-to-back championships in 2019-2021 and their dominance in posting a franchise record 15-3 mark a year ago.

The Blue Bombers announced their roster decisions early Saturday evening prior to the 10 p.m. deadline, and here are the details, plus a look at who is returning, who is new and a quick take on what it all means with less than a week before the season opener this Friday at IG Field against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats…

Released outright from the roster on Saturday were 25 players including:

  • Veteran kicker Marc Liegghio, who handled all the kicking chores a year ago and played in 32 regular season games and the last two Grey Cups for the club.
  • Three draft picks in defensive back Bret MacDougall (who is heading back to school), linebacker Max Charbonneau from this year’s class along with converted defensive tackle/guard Cole Adamson from last year’s class. Defensive tackle Collin Kornelson – selected in the fifth round this year – is expected to return to the University of Manitoba and was moved to the suspended list.
  • Quarterback Josh Jones, American receivers Manasseh Bailey, Sean Coyne, Braxton Westfield, Tavaris Harrison, Brendan Beaulieu and Gavin Garner, running backs Kevon Latulas, Vance Barnes and Jordan Salima. Harrison dressed for five games last year but did not catch a pass, while Salima scored a TD in Friday’s preseason finale.
  • Along the line of scrimmage, American offensive linemen Kelvin Ateman and Desmond Bessent and D-linemen Joe Beckett, DeJaun Cooper – who dressed for five games a year ago – Aaron Sterling and Keenan Agnew were all let go. As were Americans Barrington Wade, a linebacker, and defensive back Karon Delince, along with Canadian DBs Jordan Veltri and Jacob Janke and American placekicker Chandler Staton.

The club also added 13 players to the practice roster – eight Americans, two Canadians and three Globals. That list:

  • The Americans: running back Greg McCrae, receiver Amare Jones and O-linemen Drew Richmond and Chris Ivy, defensive lineman/long snapper/fullback Damian Jackson, defensive tackle Caleb Thomas and defensive backs Abu Daramy-Swaray and Matt Cole.
  • The Canadians: 2023 draft pick Jeremy Murphy, a receiver, along with O-lineman Jakub Szott.
  • The Globals: O-lineman Tomoya Machino, defensive back Souleymane Karamoko and punter Karl Schmitz.


*Indicates Canadian, PR: Practice roster

QB: Zach Collaros, Dru Brown

RB: Brady Oliveira*, Johnny Augustine*, Greg McCrae (PR)

FB: Mike Miller*, Konner Burtenshaw* (six-game injured)

Rec: Dalton Schoen, Nic Demski*, Rasheed Bailey, Drew Wolitarsky*, Janarion Grant, Brendan O’Leary-Orange*, Carlton Agudosi

OL: Stanley Bryant, Geoff Gray*, Chris Kolankowski*, Pat Neufeld*, Jermarcus Hardrick, Liam Dobson*, Drew Richmond (PR), Tomoya Machino (Global, PR)

DL: Jackson Jeffcoat, Willie Jefferson, Jake Thomas*, Cam Lawson*, Ricky Walker, Thiadric Hanson (Global; six-game injured list)

LB: Adam Bighill, Malik Clements, Kyrie Wilson (six-game injured list), Shayne Gauthier*, Tanner Cadwallader*, Jesse Briggs*, Les Maruo (Global), Brian Cole

DB: Deatrick Nichols, Brandon Alexander, Alden Darby, Jr., Evan Holm, Winston Rose, Desmond Lawrence, Nick Hallett*, Demerio Houston, Redha Kramdi*, Jamal Parker, Souleymane Karamoko (Global, PR)

LS: Mike Benson*


QB: Tyrrell Pigrome

Rec: Kenny Lawler (suspended list), Jeremy Murphy (PR, 2023 3rd-round pick), Amare Jones (PR)

OL: Tui Eli* (one-game injured list), Jakub Szott* (PR), Chris Ivy (PR),

DL: Anthony Bennett* (2023 1st-round pick), Celestin Haba, Tanner Schmekel* (2023 4th-round pick), Caleb Thomas (PR)

DB: Jake Kelly* (2023 2nd-round pick), Matt Cole (PR), Abu Daramy-Swaray (PR),

K: Sergio Castillo

P: Jamieson Sheahan (Global); Karl Schmitz (Global, PR)

LS: Damian Jackson (PR, also a DL and FB)


  • The current roster includes 47 players who suited up for at least one game last season.
  • All but three starters from last year’s Grey Cup – centre Michael Couture (B.C.), defensive tackle Casey Sayles (Hamilton) and receiver Greg Ellingson (Montreal) are back.
  • The decision on Liegghio means the club will have two new kickers handling the chores this season, although the return of Castillo for a third stint with the team hardly makes him ‘new.’ Sheahan, the club’s first pick in the 2023 Global Draft, is on the roster as the punter with Schmitz, the second pick, on the practice roster. Interestingly, in the two seasons since Justin Medlock kicked six field goals in the 2019 Grey Cup, the club has used four different place kickers – Liegghio in 2021 and 2022, Castillo at the end of 2022 as well as Tyler Crapigna and Ali Mourtada.
  • The team’s top four picks in the 2023 CFL draft – Bennett, Kelly, Murphy and Schmekel – all made the team, with Bennett and Kelly currently on the active roster.
  • Pigrome, who had a sensational preseason, has made the team as the No. 3 QB behind Collaros and Brown.
  • And, finally, Monday’s first practice session will be very revealing as to the Week 1 status of players like Bighill, Oliveira, Jeffcoat, Lawrence, Grant and Rose, all of whom had been limited, or not practised at all, during camp.