October 21, 2018

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Record: 9–7–0

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Blue Bomber Report (9–7–0)

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Washington waiting for big break

American wide receiver making most of practice role with Bombers

Wide receiver Corey Washington is currently stuck on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' 10-man practice roster and insists the waiting game doesn't bother him. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)</p></p>

Wide receiver Corey Washington is currently stuck on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' 10-man practice roster and insists the waiting game doesn't bother him. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

Corey Washington is seven regular-season games into his first CFL season.

The 26-year-old wide receiver hasn’t played a snap or dressed for a game; he’s currently stuck on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ 10-man practice roster and insists the waiting game doesn’t bother him.

“No, I’ve been through this before,” Washington said following practice at Investors Group Field on Tuesday. “It’s a process. Waiting patiently, once I get the chance I’ll continue to help the guys win some games, get to the playoffs and win the Grey Cup.”

It’s bold talk, but Washington knows of what he speaks.

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Corey Washington is seven regular-season games into his first CFL season.

The 26-year-old wide receiver hasn’t played a snap or dressed for a game; he’s currently stuck on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ 10-man practice roster and insists the waiting game doesn’t bother him.

"No, I’ve been through this before," Washington said following practice at Investors Group Field on Tuesday. "It’s a process. Waiting patiently, once I get the chance I’ll continue to help the guys win some games, get to the playoffs and win the Grey Cup."

It’s bold talk, but Washington knows of what he speaks.

Undrafted out of NCAA Division II Newberry College in South Carolina, he had NFL stops with Arizona, the New York Giants, Washington, Detroit, Atlanta, Buffalo, Kansas City and Dallas — all between 2014 and 2017 — before signing as a free agent with the Blue Bombers this spring.

In Winnipeg, he found himself behind a veteran group of American receivers while competing with fellow American PR players such as Ryan Lankford and Kenbrell Thompkins to be next receiver in line.

Thompkins, in his first year in the CFL, finally got his chance in Week 7 (after slotback Adarius Bowman was traded to the Montreal Alouettes) and thrived, catching three passes for 81 yards in a 40-14 win over the Toronto Argonauts.

Washington, meanwhile, is still waiting for his shot, but with Winnipeg’s offence free of significant injuries, the timing of his big break is a big unknown.

"I try to control what I can control — attitude and effort," said Washington, whose last active duty came in 2014 when he dressed in 14 games for the Giants, catching five passes for 52 yards. "Just keep going hard and my time will come. When it comes, you’ll see what Corey Washington can do."

For head coach Mike O’Shea, honesty is the only policy in dealing with the players who are on the outside looking in.

"Hopefully, the level of communication from the position coach, the co-ordinators and the head coach is at a level where the players understand their role," O’Shea said.

"Then, the credit goes to the player for not just accepting, but making sure they’re thriving in their role. These guys are all very intelligent guys and unfortunately, understand the business of it. They’re not waiting around. They’re working hard for their next opportunity."

Thompkins is a prime example. It’s still early, but the NFL veteran impressed coaches with his work ethic and his willingness to adapt to the Canadian game.

"He stuck with it," said O’Shea of Thompkins, who has been working with the No. 1 offence in preparation for Friday’s home date with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

"There was a little bit of a lineup there, and he just went out every day to win a job, win a spot. He made sure he was available for all the scout team stuff and special teams and whatever was asked of him."

Rookie Canadian Daniel Petermann is another receiver preparing for his big break. So far, Winnipeg’s third-round (26th overall) pick from the 2018 draft has been employed as a backup and on special teams.

He has two receptions for 31 yards in seven games but showed flashes of his speed with a 44-yard kickoff return on a designed reverse on July 27 against the Argonauts.

In short, the job description seems like a good fit so far.

"For me, it’s been good," Petermann said.

"I’m good with my role right now. You’ve just gotta stay ready, that’s the thing. You’ve gotta prepare like you’re going to start. That’s the best way to stay on top of things.

"That’s the challenging part because guys that get drafted are usually the best players on our university (teams). It’s professional football, and you’ve gotta wait your turn and you’ve gotta earn it."

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky
Sports Reporter

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.

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History

Updated on Wednesday, August 8, 2018 at 6:28 AM CDT: Final

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