The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are expected to be without projected starting strongside linebacker Mercy Maston for the foreseeable future, after head coach Mike O’Shea revealed Friday that he had suffered an Achilles injury in his second straight training camp.
News of the injury, which was first reported by team writer Ed Tait, confirmed the worst fears of fans after Maston was carted off the practice field last Thursday, unable to put pressure on his left leg.
The 29-year-old missed the entire 2021 season after tearing his Achilles in training camp last year and was attempting to mount a comeback with the team.
The five-foot-eleven, 208-pound defender originally signed with Winnipeg in August 2019 following an NFL stint with the Philadelphia Eagles and dressed for two games before being injured. He returned to the lineup late in the year and started at strongside linebacker for the regular-season finale and three playoff games where he racked up 13 tackles, one sack, and an interception.
Prior to joining the Blue Bombers, Maston played two seasons with Edmonton (2017-18), recording 57 tackles and two interceptions in 19 games. He was released to pursue NFL opportunities in January 2019 and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, though he did not make the final roster.
With Maston’s 2021 replacement Alden Darby now in Hamilton, the Bombers appear set to start rookie Donald Rutledge Jr. in the role for the upcoming season. On a more positive note, all-star cornerback Winston Rose — who was spotted in a walking boot earlier this week — has returned to the field and practiced fully on Friday.