November 17, 2018

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Roster shakeup for Blue could be on the horizon

U of M grad could be heading north of the border soon

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Files</p><p>Blue Bombers receiver Corey Washington could make his CFL debut in the Labour Day Classic.</p>

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Files

Blue Bombers receiver Corey Washington could make his CFL debut in the Labour Day Classic.

If his broad smile following practice was an accurate indicator, Corey Washington should make his CFL debut at the Labour Day Classic in Regina Sunday afternoon.

The 26-year-old receiver, who had stops with eight NFL teams between 2014 and 2017, was working out with Winnipeg’s first-team offence at practice Wednesday afternoon. He has spent the first 10 games of the regular season on the club’s 10-man practice roster.

During Wednesday’s workout, Washington slotted in as a wide receiver while veteran Darvin Adams moved inside.

With injured slotback Weston Dressler still not a full participant at practice, Washington could replace third-year man Ryan Lankford in the lineup. Lankford had three catches for 73 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown in Saturday’s 39-25 loss to the Calgary Stampeders.

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If his broad smile following practice was an accurate indicator, Corey Washington should make his CFL debut at the Labour Day Classic in Regina Sunday afternoon.

The 26-year-old receiver, who had stops with eight NFL teams between 2014 and 2017, was working out with Winnipeg’s first-team offence at practice Wednesday afternoon. He has spent the first 10 games of the regular season on the club’s 10-man practice roster.

During Wednesday’s workout, Washington slotted in as a wide receiver while veteran Darvin Adams moved inside.

With injured slotback Weston Dressler still not a full participant at practice, Washington could replace third-year man Ryan Lankford in the lineup. Lankford had three catches for 73 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown in Saturday’s 39-25 loss to the Calgary Stampeders.

"It’s still a process," Washington said. "We’ll see at the end of this week where I stand and whether I’m up or not. It’s not official yet… We’ll see how the week goes and how I practise and perform against the other guys and see what happens."

Washington is prepared to play wherever needed.

"It don’t matter," he said. "I play slot, outside. You’ve just gotta learn the concepts and terminology and everything. I’ve had enough weeks to get that down pat and I feel like I’m ready."

Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea wouldn’t confirm if Washington will be a starter this weekend, but acknowledged there are certainly benefits to inserting a big body — 6-4, 208 pounds — into the lineup.

"Obviously, his physical stature. He’s a tall, long guy who jumps up and high-points footballs, he can run," the Bombers coach said. "He’s shown over the course of time that he’s willing to learn and get an understanding of our game and our playbooks. Those are all things you like to see. If these things didn’t show up then there’d be another guy here."

GRAY HEADING NORTH?: the agent for Canadian offensive lineman Geoff Gray says his client will ponder his NFL options before making any decisions about playing with the Blue Bombers.

Blue Bombers 2017 draft pick offensive lineman Geoff Gray was released by the Cleveland Browns.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Blue Bombers 2017 draft pick offensive lineman Geoff Gray was released by the Cleveland Browns.

Gray, a 23-year-old, chosen eighth overall by Winnipeg in the 2017 CFL Draft, was released by the Cleveland Browns earlier this week and was expected to clear waivers Wednesday. He would be free to sign with any NFL team.

Agent Darren Gill said Gray would take until the weekend to consider any potential NFL destinations.

Gray, a 6-5, 315-pound Winnipeg product and University of Manitoba grad, signed as an undrafted free agent by Green Bay in 2017 and spent time on the practice rosters of the Packers and New York Jets before joining the Browns late last season.

"We haven’t had a chance to talk to him yet. I heard he was released. From a personal standpoint, you hope for the guy, you hope he gets a chance to crack a (NFL) lineup," O’Shea said.

"I don’t know what his options are going forward, but like I said, from a personal standpoint, you want him to get whatever he wants to get."

HARDRICK AND JACKSON DOUBTFUL VS. RIDERS: O’Shea said offensive lineman Jermarcus Hardrick, who has missed one game with an injured knee and defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, who pulled up lame with an undisclosed inury in last week’s loss to Calgary, were doubtful to play against the Roughriders. Neither player practised Wednesday, along with three others in OL Patrick Neufeld, running back Andrew Harris and Dressler.

Neufeld and Harris were simply maintenance days, O’Shea said, while Dressler has been updated to "questionable" after missing the last two games with a lower-body injury. Dressler hasn’t been a participant in practice just yet, but was removed from the six-game injury list last week.

"We’ll see. Once again, he doesn’t need the reps," O’Shea said of the veteran receiver. "He’s one of the smartest guys in the league and he can play on a moment’s notice."

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @sawa14

jeff.hamilton@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @jeffkhamilton

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky
Sports Reporter

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

Read full biography

Jeff Hamilton

Jeff Hamilton
Multimedia producer

After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.

Read full biography

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