BASS SENT BACK INTO THE WILD
Redblacks part ways with linebacker ahead of Sunday’s clash with Montreal
Soon after a meeting with coach Rick Campbell early Friday morning, Khalil Bass was no longer an Ottawa Redblack.
The team released the outside linebacker two days in advance of an important East Division showdown in Montreal.
“(Bass) wasn’t going to be starting on defence (in Montreal),” said Redblacks GM Marcel Desjardins. “Serderius (Bryant) was going to start at WILL (linebacker), Khalil was going to back up (Taylor Reed) at MIKE (linebacker). That didn’t sit well with him.”
Bass had been doing a slow burn inside for nearly two months. After missing a 24-19 win over Montreal with an injury, he returned for a July 24 game against Toronto and saw his reps had been reduced.
“My reps had been decreasing every week, all the way back to the Toronto game — my first game back from being injured,” said Bass by phone Friday. “I felt when the game was on the line, I wasn’t in. It showed me they didn’t believe in me when I felt I needed to be on the field. All I wanted to do was help the team win and I wasn’t on the field to do that.
“I didn’t feel like they had a belief in me and my abilities. I just didn’t fit into their plans.”
Bass said when he went into the meeting with Campbell, it was to talk about whether he should go on the one-game injured list this week.
“(Campbell) asked me if I wanted to still be there,” said Bass. “I said, ‘I don’t really have a choice in the matter.’ He said, ‘If you could be on another team, would you still want to be here?’ I said, ‘No.’”
Said Desjardins: “It’s not like he wasn’t on the roster. It’s not like he wasn’t playing. He was playing less. But he was still meant to be part of what we were doing going into this week. He opted to not be here. We don’t want somebody here who doesn’t want to be here.
“This didn’t come out of left field, we’ve seen it coming for a while, It just came to a head. It didn’t work. We’ll move on and I’m sure he’s happy to move on. The reasons behind it, it’s about getting as many reps as you can on defence. He didn’t feel he was getting as many as he should and we felt differently.”
Bass was a standout the past two seasons in Winnipeg with 99 and 82 tackles on defence. In 11 games with the Redblacks, he had 39 with two sacks. Bass said the Redblacks defensive scheme wasn’t a perfect fit for what he does on a football field.
“I’m more of a downhill kind of guy, they want us to be patient and wait for things to come to us,” he said.
“That’s not my style of play. They said Serderius fit their style better and here we are. I love the city, the fans were great, the team was great, my teammates were great. But scheme wise, it didn’t work.”
Because Bass is a third-year CFLer, the Redblacks are not on the hook for his salary going forward, so this wasn’t a financial move where the Redblacks were looking to create salary cap space.
A source said his former team, the Blue Bombers, is taking a long look at bringing him back. Interestingly enough, the Redblacks play in Winnipeg Sept. 22.
Will the Redblacks bring in somebody from the outside — maybe a former CFLer recently cut by an NFL team? Maybe, but don’t hold your breath.
“Serderius and Kevin Brown are both very good athletes, they can play well in space and we like what they’re doing,” said Desjardins. “We’ll look around and see what options there are as far as linebackers we could potentially bring in.”
Early Friday, Bass posted on Instagram: “Life’s most valuable lessons come from negative circumstances and the lessons learned from this situation will stick with me for the rest of my life.”
Also on Instagram, former Redblacks teammate and current Edmonton Eskimos defensive back A.J. Jefferson said: “Just a little stepping stone, bro. They just dumb.”
I didn’t feel like they had a belief in me and my abilities. I just didn’t fit into their plans.
Khalil Bass, who had become more discouraged as his playing time was cut in recent weeks, was released by the Redblacks on Friday.