The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have made their first significant cuts in preparation for the 2009 season.
The club announced today the release of a dozen players, including three of their '09 draft picks — offensive linemen Mike Morris and Adam Bestard and fullback Peter Quinney.
The other players cut were linebacker Johnny Baldwin, defensive backs Darrius Battles, John Eubanks and Willie Byrd, kicker Dan Giancola, defensive lineman DeVon Hicks, quarterback James Kilian and receivers Justin Surrency and Ramonce Taylor.
The two biggest surprises are arguably the release of Taylor — who had drawn rave reviews from the coaching staff but did fumble a punt return in Wednesday's preseason win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats — as well as Eubanks. Both those players were seen as the front runners to replace Jason Armstead as the team's kick returner.
Giancola, the veteran Canadian kicker, arrived with a groin pull and didn't recover fast enough to push Alexis Serna, who was solid in the win over the Ticats. And Kilian's release leaves the Bombers with three QBs — starter Stefan LeFors, Bryan Randall and Richie Williams.
The team also announced that defensive back Lenny Walls, acquired in a trade last month from the Calgary Stampeders, has agreed to a new deal with the club and reported to camp.