Banks time runs out

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:09 AM ET

The hourglass got turned upside down on Brad Banks when he threw his second interception last Thursday night.

The sand finally ran out yesterday morning when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers traded the much-maligned quarterback to the Montreal Alouettes for fellow pivot Kliff Kingsbury.

"I'm not going to say I'm happy or sad. It's just one of those things," Banks said yesterday morning, about an hour after bidding adieu to teammates and coaches. "I was looking forward to helping out this year, and I kind of had a rocky start after that pre-season game. But hey, what can you do?"

DOWNFALL

Banks's downfall began earlier than last Thursday's pre-season game, in which he completed one of seven attempts for four yards and two interceptions. Most of his 14 months in Blue and Gold were frustrating for everyone involved.

"The trade was done to get him a chance to continue his career, because it wasn't exactly going that well here," GM Brendan Taman said. "That was pretty obvious."

The former Heisman Trophy runner-up was considered by some to be the steal of the Ottawa Renegades dispersal draft last April. The Bombers were giddy after getting him with the 13th pick.

DIDN'T FIT

It went downhill from there. Banks got into seven games last season but completed only 22 of 52 passes for 219 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. There were rumblings that Banks didn't fit into Winnipeg's offensive system.

That theory wasn't exactly false, head coach Doug Berry revealed yesterday.

"We try to take a guy that has a lot of talent, and I'm not sure still that this is the case, but sometimes you try to drive a round peg into a square hole," Berry said. "Maybe we were trying to do that, but I still saw a lot of talent there in Brad and I still felt like he was making progress in the system."

Banks, 27, became a free agent in February, and the Bombers re-signed him at Berry's request. The fourth-year CFLer was even leading Winnipeg's backup battle going into last week's first pre-season game.

It would have been tough, however, for Berry to keep Banks after his dismal showing last Thursday, even though the coach blamed the performance on receivers dropping balls and running bad routes, and the offence taking too many penalties.

"Brad is really upset with the fact that we're trading him, only to the point where he felt like he let us down," Berry said. "And I wanted to tell him that it wasn't a matter of Brad letting us down. I felt like it was a matter of us letting him down."

It's believed Montreal's new offence will be better suited to Banks, who is thankful for the support Berry showed him.

"I know coach Berry was pulling for me," Banks said. "But honestly, I didn't really help myself to make them want to keep me around. That's just the way it went.

"... I'm going somewhere that somebody wants me. That's a good deal."


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