Winnipeg Blue Bombers re-acquire Alden Darby in trade

The best got even better on Tuesday.

The league-leading Winnipeg Blue Bombers pulled off a trade on the eve of the CFL trade deadline to bring back a player who helped them win the 2021 Grey Cup.

The Bombers completed a two-player swap with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to re-acquire defensive back Alden Darby Jr. who had left the team in free agency in the off-season. The Bombers gave up defensive end Cedric Wilcots II as part of the exchange.

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It’s the second time the Bombers have picked up Darby through a trade. The club originally acquired him up from the Toronto Argonauts during training camp in 2021 after an injury to Mercy Maston.

“A guy that we know, that knows what we do, that we’ve won with,” said head coach Mike O’Shea. “That kind of veteran presence, a good communicator, a good football player, very, very versatile.

“Certainly helps us right now with our depth. We got to make sure we re-stock that.”

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Darby, 30, had one sack and one interception with 23 tackles in 10 games with the Tabbies. And his presence is needed for an injury-riddled defence.

“Love Darby, man,” said quarterback Zach Collaros. “Very smart. I’ve been playing against him for a long time, whether he’s playing free safety, he’s lined up all over the field.

“Last year he was the SAM linebacker for us. Just a really smart guy, a great communicator. I think it’ll be great to have around some of the young guys on the field. And a hell of a teammate we all love.”

It’s not clear where he’ll line up, though, with Donald Rutledge Jr. now occupying the starting spot at dimeback.

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O’Shea also revealed on Tuesday that defensive back Nick Taylor will likely miss the rest of the season with an achilles injury.

Wilcots just made his third career start in last week’s win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders. With his departure and Jackson Jeffcoat nursing a hip injury, newcomer Keion Adams will likely start this week at defensive end.

The 13-2 Bombers host the 4-11 Edmonton Elks on Saturday at IG Field.

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