Korey Banks’ days as a Winnipeg Blue Bomber appear to be over before they even really began.
Banks, the 11-year CFL veteran acquired in the offseason for his leadership and experience, has asked for his release from the team after not being happy with his role.
He did not play in last Thursday’s season-opening win over the Toronto Argonauts after being put on the one-game injured list and Sunday morning used his Twitter account to say: ‘New chapter begins today.’
"Korey came into Kyle’s office (GM Kyle Walters) today, spoke to Kyle and I and asked for his release," said head coach Mike O’Shea. "We don’t have to make any decisions about our roster until 48 hours before the game. The focus right now is preparing for Ottawa.
"He wasn’t willing to accept the role that we had for him for this week."
Banks had been banged up during training camp with hamstring and back issues and during his absence appeared to have lost his starting role to Johnny Sears, Jr.
TSN’s Glen Suitor reported prior to Thursday’s season-opening win over the Toronto Argonauts that Banks was a healthy scratch, a point that O’Shea vehemently refuted after the game.
On Saturday when asked if Banks had a future with the club, O’Shea said, "As of right now…"
The Bombers acquired Banks during the winter in a trade with the B.C. Lions that sent Kito Poblah west. Even though his future with the Lions might have been iffy, the Bombers saw the chance to add an experienced winner to their lineup as part of the rebuild here.
But Banks, who wasn’t at the facility when practice started, clearly wasn’t willing to play a back-up role with the club.
"I don’t know if he was healthy coming out of camp and into Week 1 so Johnny Sears got reps at that spot and we decided to go with Johnny for Week 1," O’Shea explained. "And the result we had against Toronto, I don’t think it was really good idea to change the roster.
"I think there was still a role for him on our team. Johnny Sears played very well, so did Teague Sherman. He wasn’t the only player to play that position."
Asked if Banks’ reaction to his status wasn’t the kind of leadership they were seeking, O’Shea added:
"I don’t think he was willing to accept that type of leadership role. He believes leadership comes in a different way. I believe leadership comes from being out there on the field.
My Utopian idea is that when a player says, ‘What’s your goal?, What do you want to do this season’ the answer is ‘Anything I’m asked of by the organization to allow us to win a Grey Cup.’ That’s the answer. That’s my perfect answer I like to hear, it’s not the answer everyone gives."
Meanwhile, the Bombers confirmed the signings of two new players Sunday – one who is familiar to fans here, the other a fresh face.
Coming back is receiver Romby Bryant (6-2, 195, Tulsa), who began his CFL career with the Bombers and was recently released by the Toronto Argonauts. Bryant is entering his seventh CFL season and has 304 receptions for 4,557 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Troy Stoudemire (5-10, 199, Minnesota) joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders practice roster in October of 2013, after spending five seasons at the University of Minnesota. The Texas native spent time at receiver and defensive back as well as kick returner where he set an NCAA record with 3,615 career kickoff return yards. He attended training camp with the Cincinnati Bengals last season prior to signing with the Riders. He was released prior to the start of the CFL regular season.