Blue Bombers bench lineman Kelly Bates
8-year veteran to sit in favour of Donnelly on Saturday against Montreal
Kelly Bates has lost his starting job on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' offensive line, despite helping the offence rack up its highest single-game rushing total in more than four years.
Ryan Donnelly will replace Bates, who was put on the trade block last month, for Saturday night's game against the visiting Montreal Alouettes (7 p.m. MT).
Bates, 34, was on the field last Saturday as Blue Bombers running back Fred Reid amassed 167 of the 232 yards put up by the Canadian Football League team in a 31-23 loss to Calgary.
It marked Winnipeg's biggest ground-game output since July 22, 2005, when Charles Roberts and company rushed for 235 yards in a 51-46 win over Montreal.
"We felt we needed to get a little better play out of the right guard spot and that Ryan Donnelly has been working very well and what he's done in practice is deserving of getting a look in a game," Bombers head coach Mike Kelly told the Winnipeg Sun of benching Bates.
An eight-year CFL veteran, Bates took the decision in stride — at least publicly.
"The coaches told me they felt I was banged up and it was affecting my mobility and that I needed a rest," said Bates, a 2007 CFL all-star who was acquired from the B.C. Lions in the off-season.