Manitoba

Another key defensive back released by Blue Bombers to pursue NFL contract

For the second time in less than a week, the Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers have released a defensive player, so they can chase their dream of playing in the National Football League.

Halfback Marcus Sayles was had the most tackles in Winnipeg's Grey Cup win

Winnipeg's Marcus Sayles battles with Calgary receiver Eric Rogers during the Bombers' 26-24 win over the Stampeders on Aug. 8, 2019. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

For the second time in less than a week, the Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers have released a defensive player, so they can chase their dream of playing in the National Football League.

On Wednesday morning, the Bombers announced they released defensive halfback Marcus Sayles "to further pursue NFL opportunities."

Sayles suited up for all 18 regular-season games in 2019, recording 66 tackles, three interceptions and one sack.

He also scored two touchdowns. The first was when he returned a blocked punt in a win over the B.C. Lions, and the second came after recovering a fumble in a loss to the Calgary Stampeders.

Sayles showed off in the Bombers' playoff run too, leading the team with six defensive tackles in their 33-12 Grey Cup win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats — which ended a 29-year championship drought.

The 25-year-old from Alpharetta, Ga., played two seasons for the Bombers after playing four years at the University of West Georgia. He is listed as five-foot-nine and 176 pounds.

Sayles' departure is compounded by the loss of cornerback Winston Rose, who spent much of the year lined up alongside Sayles in the Bombers' defensive backfield. 

Bombers cornerback Winston Rose (30) is joined by halfback Marcus Sayles (14) and other teammates in celebrating Rose's interception against the Calgary Stampeders on Aug. 8, 2019. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

Rose, who led the Canadian Football League in interceptions last season, signed a two-year contract on Tuesday with the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals.

According to the Bengals website, Rose's 10 interceptions in the regular season and playoffs were just one fewer than the entire Cincinnati team amassed this season.

The Bengals finished last in the NFL this year with a 2-14 record.

Earlier in December, the Bombers also announced they were releasing defensive end Jonathan Kongbo so he could pursue NFL opportunities.

He published a tweet on Tuesday suggesting he has signed a contract with the San Francisco 49ers, although the team has yet to make a formal announcement.

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