WINNIPEG – Request: not granted.
After demanding his release, Korey Banks has been placed on the suspended list by the Blue Bombers. Banks has left the team and gone home and will not be receiving a paycheque in the meantime.
The saga began when Banks was beaten out for his starting linebacker job by Johnny Sears in training camp. Banks was placed on the one-game injured list and did not play in the team’s season-opening victory against the Argonauts, but there was much speculation Banks was really a healthy scratch. General manager Kyle Walters was shopping Banks around on the trade block late last week and then Banks asked for his release over the weekend.
Head coach Mike O’Shea at his daily media briefing Monday said they suspended Banks instead of granting his release based purely on business reasons.
“Obviously, if you have an asset, you’re not just going to let it go on the street,” said O’Shea. “And obviously when a player comes to you and wants to be released, there’s that chance that now other players will want come and get released. Why would you do that? It’s just not a very good business decision, so the best decision is to suspend him.”
The team is now preparing to face the expansion Ottawa RedBlacks on Thursday but Banks has not been a distraction, according to teammate Glenn January.
“No, absolutely not,” said January. “Korey is a professional and any problems he’s had with the club have been dealt with behind closed doors. He hasn’t let that leak into the locker room.”
The Bombers acquired the now 34-year-old Banks from the B.C. Lions for underachieving Canadian receiver Kito Poblah in the off-season. After the trade the Bombers signed Banks to a contract extension and he was reportedly paid a signing bonus north of $50,000.
Banks has played the last 10 seasons in the CFL with the Edmonton Eskimos, Ottawa Renegades and B.C. Lions. He’s a four-time CFL all-star and twice won the Grey Cup with the Leos.