The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are on a mission to return to Grey Cup glory this year after missing a chance to three-peat last season in an upset loss to the Toronto Argonauts. Their first test will come on Friday night when they host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at IG Field.
Winnipeg has brought back virtually their entire roster from a year ago with 19 starters from last year’s Grey Cup set to start against the Ticats. That number would be even higher had the club not lost two projected starting defensive backs to injuries.
Almost all of Winnipeg’s most familiar faces — Zach Collaros, Brady Oliveira, Nic Demski, Stanley Bryant, Jermarcus Hardrick, Willie Jefferson, Adam Bighill, etc. — will be on the field for the club’s season-opener. Sergio Castillo will handle the placekicking duties, while Global rookie Jamieson Sheahan will punt following the release of Marc Liegghio.
Kenny Lawler will not be available for Friday’s game as he is currently on the team’s suspended list. The star receiver’s suspension was caused by issues with Canadian immigration stemming from a guilty plea for impaired driving. He will be replaced by Carlton Agudosi, the six-foot-six, 217-pound target who caught two touchdown passes in his first career start last season.
Winnipeg will open the season with two projected starters in the secondary on the six-game injured list as Winston Rose (foot) and Jamal Parker (ankle) are out. Canadian offensive lineman Tui Eli (leg) and Canadian defensive tackle Cameron Lawson (knee) are also out, albeit on the one-game injured list.
Friday’s game will begin at 8:30 p.m. EDT at IG Field and feature a halftime performance from locally-born and world-renowned illusionist Darcy Oake.