Bombers cut Canadian defensive backs Malcolm Thompson, Patrice Rene

Photo: David Mahussier/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have released a pair of notable Canadian defensive backs, parting ways with cornerback Patrice Rene and safety Malcolm Thompson.

Both players finished the 2022 season on the injured list and are reportedly still rehabbing from long-term injuries.

Rene was a highly-touted prospect for the Bombers after they selected him 21st overall in the 2021 CFL Draft but he played just one game as a rookie, continuing an unfortunate trend of major injuries that have plagued the Ottawa native since college.

Regarded as the top Canadian recruit in the 2016 class, Rene committed to the University of North Carolina and made an instant impact for the Tar Heels, playing 44 games over five seasons. He made 103 total tackles, defended 14 passes, recorded four tackles for loss, two interceptions, and forced one fumble during his time in Chapel Hill, but never fully bounced back from a torn ACL suffered in 2019.

The 25-year-old was in and out of the lineup throughout the 2020 season and opted to return to school following his CFL Draft year, transferring to Rutgers. He played just five games in 2021, recording eight tackles.

Thompson played a major role for the Bombers in 2022 despite being an unheralded offseason signee, starting the first seven games of the season at safety before going down with injury. He returned for three games in a backup role later in the year but did not dress again after Week 17, finishing with 23 defensive tackles and five special teams tackles on the year.

The Wilfrid Laurier product originally signed with the Calgary Stampeders as an undrafted free agent ahead of the cancelled 2020 season but failed to make the team’s roster the following year. He later signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, making two special teams tackles in two appearances.