Mercy Maston’s season has come to a sudden and full stop just days into Winnipeg Blue Bombers training camp. The veteran defensive back suffered a torn right Achilles at practice on Sunday afternoon and underwent season-ending surgery on Monday.
Maston was in pass coverage late in Sunday’s session and became entangled with a receiver running on a route down the sidelines. He immediately signalled for Bombers Head Athletic Therapist Al Couture, and after a few minutes made his way to a medical station and did not return to practice.
The 28-year-old veteran of 22 Canadian Football League regular season games with Edmonton and Winnipeg joined the Bombers in August of 2019 and dressed for two games before being injured. He returned to the lineup late in the year, cementing himself into the dimeback spot for the regular season finale as part of a remade secondary that was then critical in the Bombers defensive dominance in the three playoff games, including the 2019 Grey Cup victory. In those three playoff games, he registered 13 tackles, one sack and one interception.
Maston had an excellent first week of training camp and seemed a lock to start again at arguably the most difficult position to play in the secondary. The Bombers were already entering 2021 with two changes in their defensive backfield as CFL All-Star Winston Rose is now with the Cincinnati Bengals and Marcus Sayles, a West Division All-Star in 2019, signed with the B.C. Lions as a free agent.
The club did bring 27 defensive backs to camp but, needing experience to offset Maston’s loss, swung a trade with the Toronto Argonauts to acquire veteran Alden Darby. In exchange, Winnipeg shipped import offensive tackle Terry Poole to the Argos. Darby comes to the Bombers with a solid resumé, having played in 43 games over three seasons in Toronto – 40 of them starts. The 29-year-old vet started 35 games over 2018-19, with 119 tackles, one sack, seven interceptions and two touchdowns.
A two-time All-Pac 12 player at Arizona State, Darby was signed by the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and has also had stints with the Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts before he joined the Argos.
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