Bombers trade all-star

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

The last veteran defensive back standing in the Winnipeg secondary has been banished to the Igloo.

In perhaps their most controversial trade to date, the Blue Bombers dealt Kelly Malveaux -- an East Division all-star last season -- to the Edmonton Eskimos for import defensive end Fred Perry.

Malveaux not only played defensive back, strong-side linebacker and safety last year, he was a recognized leader in the dressing room.

"I'm very shocked," Malveaux admitted from his Bellflower, Calif., home yesterday. "I was taken aback at first but then, I was told that Edmonton had been after me for the last five weeks, and it's definitely good to be wanted.

"It's the nature of the beast in the CFL. They did what they felt they had to do to make the team better. As for me and my family, I'm still playing football and I wish them (Bombers) all the best."

After acquiring non-import defensive end Riall Johnson from Toronto over the winter, the Bombers already appeared to be solid on the front four where defensive end Gavin Walls and defensive tackle Tyrone Williams, both imports, were expected to line up with non-import defensive tackle Doug Brown and Johnson. But Perry became available when Edmonton acquired linebacker/rush end Kitwana Jones from Saskatchewan.

"(Bombers head coach) Mike Kelly was with Fred Perry (in Edmonton) last year and I've seen enough of him to know that he can change the game himself," said Bombers director of player personnel John Murphy. "This really fortifies our front four and gives us a terrific rotation of guys.

"This will make us a much better team than we were yesterday."

Murphy added that the move had nothing to do with the fact that Malveaux had recently signed a new contract, giving him a raise, and suspicions that Johnson may be reluctant to report to Winnipeg are false. It actually had more to do with the fact the Eskies wanted Malveaux to replace the retired Shannon Garrett, who played strong-side linebacker last season.

Veteran savvy

"They wanted someone who can play several positions and who can add veteran savvy," said Malveaux, 33. "I've been traded in the CFL before ... I'm definitely going to move forward."

Murphy actually suggested Malveaux may not have fit in with the club's new defensive schemes anyway.

"People may have said he was the best player back there but that evaluation was based on a past defence they used," he said. "But that doesn't say how he was going to fit into a new situation.

"I know this is not going to be a media-friendly trade and won't make sense to a lot of people. (But) to me, this is a win-win trade."

The Bombers also acquired import defensive back Lenny Walls from Calgary for a conditional second-round pick in the 2011 draft.

Perry, 34, has 57 career sacks in 299 games but is also injury prone. He missed 11 games last year after suffering a broken leg and a dislocated ankle. Yet, he still recovered in time to return at the end of the season and for the playoffs.

Top of sacks category

"Over the last three seasons, (B.C.'s) Cam Wake, (Winnipeg's) Gavin Walls, and Fred Perry have been at the top of the quarterback sacks category in the CFL," Kelly said in a release. "Wake is now playing in the NFL and the other two are playing in Blue and Gold."

Kelly did not return messages and Perry could not be reached for comment.

The Bombers also acquired non-import linebacker Neil Ternovatsky, a Winnipegger, from Calgary for a sixth-round choice in 2012.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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