Winnipeg Blue Bombers release 29, including preseason hero Chris Smith

Photo courtesy: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have finalized their training camp cuts for the 2024 season, releasing 29 players and establishing a 12-man practice roster.

Rookie running back Chris Smith has been cut despite returning a punt 109 yards for a touchdown in Winnipeg’s second preseason game. It has since been reported that he sustained an injury during the game.

Other notable names who were released include rookie quarterback Darren Grainger, the versatile Ronnie Blackmon, former NFL pass-rusher Chauncey Rivers, and University of Manitoba products Collin Kornelson and AK Gassama.

First-year CFL players who appear to have made Winnipeg’s active roster include quarterback Terry Wilson, fullback Michael Chris-Ike, receivers Kevens Clercius, Myron Mitchell, and Ontaria Wilson, offensive lineman Gabe Wallace, defensive linemen Devin Adams, Kyle Samson, and Jamal Woods, linebackers Michael Ayers and Max Charbonneau, and defensive backs Terrell Bonds and Marquise Bridges.

A full list of the team’s moves can be found below.

Released

American quarterback Darren Grainger
Canadian running back Jonathan Rosery
American running back Chris Smith
American receiver Sy Barnett
American receiver Ronnie Blackmon
American receiver Isaiah Coulter
American receiver Aron Cruickshank
Canadian receiver AK Gassama
American receiver Josh Vann
American offensive lineman Chris Ivy
Canadian offensive lineman Ethan Kalra
American offensive lineman Chidi Okeke
Canadian offensive lineman Michael Vlahogiannis
Canadian defensive lineman Collin Kornelson
American defensive lineman Chauncey Rivers
American defensive lineman Taylor Upshaw
American linebacker Dylan Moses
American linebacker Johnny Petrishen
American linebacker Tre Thomas
American defensive back Russell Dandy
American defensive back Demetries Ford
American defensive back Travon Fuller
American defensive back Bill Hackett
American defensive back Juan Lua
Canadian defensive back Bret MacDougall
Canadian defensive back Nico McCarthy
American defensive back Isaiah Norman
American defensive back Patrick Rogers
Canadian punter Dante Mastrogriuseppe

Moved to practice roster

American receiver Josh Johnson
Canadian receiver Jeremy Murphy
American receiver Keric Wheatfall
American offensive lineman Larnel Coleman
American offensive lineman Kendall Randolph
American offensive lineman Micah Vanterpool
Canadian defensive lineman Owen Hubert
American linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel
Global linebacker Lucky Ogbevoen
Global linebacker Fabian Weitz
American defensive back Michael Griffin
American defensive back Tyrique McGhee

Canadian long snapper Ian Leroux was placed on the suspended list as he’s expected to return to Université Laval for his final year of U Sports eligibility.

The Blue Bombers dropped both of this year’s preseason matchups, losing 25-12 to the Saskatchewan Roughriders on May 20 and 31-10 to the Calgary Stampeders on May 31.

Final roster cutdowns league-wide needed to be made by 10:00 p.m. local time on Saturday, June 1. Moves from the league’s other teams are as follows: Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatchewan, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. As of the publishing of this article, B.C. had not announced any moves.

The Blue Bombers will open their regular season on Thursday, June 6 when they host the Montreal Alouettes at Princess Auto Stadium at 8:30 p.m. EDT.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.