The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have made a significant addition to their defensive dozen, landing five-time CFL all-star Korey Banks in a trade with the B.C. Lions.
In exchange for the 34-year-old defensive back/linebacker, the Bombers have shipped receiver Kito Poblah to the Lions.
A 10-year veteran who began his career with Ottawa and spent the last eight with the Lions, the addition of Banks adds a significant piece to the Bomber defence. He finished 2013 with 46 tackles, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a sack. He has spoken out on a couple of occasions this winter asking for some sort of clarity on his status with the Lions and for his contract, reportedly worth $136,000 last season, to be renegotiated.
"This is a business and things happen in the business that people don’t like but at the end of the day I’m grateful that Winnipeg wants me and I want Winnipeg," said Banks this afternoon in a media conference call. "This is a great marriage together and I’m going to do everything in my ability to make it work.
"This is a great fit for me and even if I was released I probably would have ended up in Winnipeg, anyway, because I felt a rapport with (GM) Kyle Walters and (head coach Mike) O’Shea that I haven’t felt in years. It’s a great fit. It’s a hungry city... they love their football, I love football. They have a lot of great key pieces and all I can do is help bring what I can bring and help this thing come together. I’m just a guy that’s going to do my best every day to help this team get to the ultimate goal, like everybody else."
The trade brought some immediate reaction via Twitter, including from his now ex-teammates:
Ryan Phillips (@ryan_4real21):
"My brother from another mother @24Banks will be missed. He's one of the best players, teammates, friends and brothers I have ever played wit
@24Banks best wishes to you and your football future. We boys way beyond football so you know what it is But it's a sad day for BC Lion fans as well as teammates. My guy has hall of fame credentials and is without a doubt the BEST CFL WEAKSIDE HALFBACK THIS LAST DECADE.
Former Lion Rob Murphy (@BIGMURPH56)
I don't think Banks wants any part of that Swaggerville stuff... He does all his talking on the field.
Banks, meanwhile, used his Twitter account (@24Banks) to reach out to quarterback Henry Burris as speculation continues to swirl the now-free agent quarterback will end up in Winnipeg:
@HenryBurris lets make it happen HANK
Later, during the conference call Banks added this about Burris: "Henry Burris... I don’t want to be a fortune teller, but I’m pretty sure he’ll end up in Winnipeg. When he does, don’t be surprised."
Poblah, meanwhile, has been nothing but a disappointment in his three years in Winnipeg. Selected in the 2011 Supplemental Draft – meaning the club forfeited its first-round pick in 2012 – Poblah never morphed into the dominant Canadian receiver many had scouted him to become. Poblah had 41 receptions for 417 yards and a TD in his second year with the Bombers, but was plagued by injuries and inconsistencies.