Red­blacks part ways with line­backer ahead of Sun­day’s clash with Mon­treal

Ottawa Citizen - - SPORTS - TIM BAINES tbaines@post­ Twit­ter: @TimCBaines

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.

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