The best defence in the CFL just got better.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers announced Wednesday afternoon the club has signed 2019 CFL all-star defensive back Winston Rose.
Rose suited up for the Blue and Gold in 2019 and led the league with nine interceptions. His impressive year caught the attention of the NFL as Rose spent 2020 on the practice roster for the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals re-signed Rose to their practice roster in 2021 but released him last month.
Rose, a 27-year-old California native, has 14 picks and 111 defensive tackles in 40 career CFL games.
It remains to be seen where Rose will fit in as the Bombers secondary has had some breakout stars this season in Deatrick Nichols and DeAundre Alford. Veteran Nick Taylor missed last week's contest in Edmonton with a hip injury but was a full participant at Wednesday's closed practice. Whatever the plan is for Rose, the move gives the Bombers some added experience and depth to an already impressive secondary.
Rose arrives in town next week during the team's bye and will be on the field prior to their Nov. 6 meeting with the Montreal Alouettes at IG Field.
American running back signs with Bombers
Wednesday was a busy day for the Bombers as the club also signed American running back Shaq Cooper.
The 28-year-old out of Fort Hays State was released by the B.C. Lions last week. In five games this season, Cooper registered 33 carries for 142 yards and a touchdown. He also hauled in 11 passes for a total of 69 yards.
Star running back Andrew Harris left Friday's game in Edmonton with a knee injury and didn't participate at practice on Wednesday. Cooper will likely land on the practice roster as Canadians Brady Oliveira and Johnny Augustine are expected to handle the load for as long as Harris is sidelined.
Bombers close to being fully vaccinated
With the federal government making it mandatory to be vaccinated for air and rail travel starting Nov. 30, the CFL has reportedly decided unvaccinated players who can't travel with their teams to the East or West Division Finals (Dec. 5) or Grey Cup (Dec. 12) will not be allowed to play. It's a bigger concern for teams in the West Division as bussing to Hamilton for the Grey Cup is not a realistic scenario.
The good news for the Bombers is the club confirmed on Wednesday that 98 per cent of its players, coaches, and football personnel staff are fully vaccinated and 99 per cent have at least one dose. Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea was asked if the incoming travel restrictions will give that player or two that are holding out the push to go get vaccinated.
"In keeping with the way we approach things here, when the government finally comes down and says 'We're starting this today,' that's when we'll deal with this," he said.
"It's not like we don't think about it, but let's wait and see when that day actually arrives."
Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.