Canadian offensive lineman are a hot commodity in CFL free agency.
But Winnipeg native Geoff Gray had no interest in experiencing that firsthand.
Gray, who was set to become a free agent next month, is staying home as he signed a two-year contract with the Blue Bombers on Monday. Gray was originally drafted by the club eighth overall in the 2017 CFL Draft out of the University of Manitoba.
Im just happy to be back with the Bombers. Theres no science behind the two-year deal specifically, but Im confident that I want to be with the Bombers long term so that was the number that was agreed to, Gray told the Free Press in a phone interview.
As for why I wanted to be back, obviously being from Winnipeg is a big part of it. Its also just a great organization to play for and to be a part of. Theres really a lot of little things that go into that but overall, I really had no desire to go anywhere else.
Gray wasnt in the headlines much in his third season in blue and gold. The teams depth on the offensive line often left Gray as the odd man out, resulting in the 27-year-old dressing in only five games in 2021.
Gray was able to make 12 starts at guard in 2019 because of veteran Patrick Neufeld nursing an injury.
Its definitely different from what I was used to in 2019. But at the end of the year, I was on the roster for the Grey Cup which I wasnt in 2019. That in itself is something that Ill remember right there, Gray said.
Obviously, everyone wants to play, but the reality is theres more people on the team than dress for game day and thats something that youre just used to playing football. Ultimately, I feel like I got better throughout the year. I feel like I ended the year better than where I started the year. Im pleased with that and ultimately thats what Im focused on.
But the door could be open to Gray seeing more opportunities in 2022. Drew Desjarlais, who started all 14 regular season games and both playoff tilts for the Bombers at left guard last season, has worked out for six different NFL teams this offseason and still has a few more workouts to go. Desjarlais will likely put pen to paper with an NFL team in the coming weeks.
I dont want to feel as though Im entitled to that position but Im entirely confident in my ability to play at a level of a starting offensive lineman in this league, said Gray.
Obviously with Drew having some potential NFL prospects, that does open up a spot for me so I am excited by that. Im also just excited to see him have success down there as well.
Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.
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