Bates opts for security

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

Kelly Bates has decided to take the money and stay.

The offensive lineman opted to accept a move to Winnipeg's nine-game injury list. But it is doubtful Bates will ever play for the Blue Bombers again.

Bomber head coach Mike Kelly decided to sit Bates, claiming he was banged up, and the veteran chose to take a spot on the nine-game list because it guarantees his salary for the rest of the season, as opposed to accepting his outright release.

"You're damned if you do or damned if you don't," Bates said last night. "It's a tough situation, but I figured it was best that I got the remainder of my contract for the rest of the year."

Although Kelly had said that he wanted better play out of the right guard spot, there are rumblings that a personality conflict between Bates and certain members of the coaching staff led to the current situation.

NEXT UP: Ryan Donnelly, who started 10 games on the O-line for the Bombers last season, will replace Bates as a starter.

"I'm really excited," said the 6-foot-5, 292-pound McMaster product. "Obviously, you don't play football to sit and watch on the sidelines. I felt I was ready to play at the beginning of the year. I showed them what I could do throughout the week and they're happy with what I could do."

But it is a bittersweet move.

"I consider (Bates) a very good friend and I think we're all sad to see him go," said Donnelly, who will play both guard and centre against Montreal tonight. "But it's the nature of the game; it's the business side ... I'm happy for my good fortune but at the same time, you're really sad to see a guy like that go."

REID 2K: Bomber RB Fred Reid has never been afraid to admit that he wants to rush for 2,000 yards this and every season.

After a couple of rough outings for reasons that were out of his control, Reid exploded for 167 yards last week in Calgary. He has a league-leading 486 going into tonight's clash, and believes he can still reach the 2,000 mark despite being on pace to amass only 1,458.

"That's definitely possible," he said. "I'm on track right now. I'm close to 500 now, so there's no question about that. As long as I can stay healthy throughout the season and play every game, if not 2,000, I'll be really close."

Reid, however, will keep a close eye on Alouettes DE Anwar Stewart, who has stepped up his game this year. Stewart has five sacks, which puts him on a pace to shatter his previous best total of 10 that he set in 2005.

"He's a pretty good defensive lineman," Reid said. "He's very active. He's smart ... He definitely makes plays."

SLOW SALES: Almost 24,000 tickets to tonight's match had been sold by 6 p.m. yesterday.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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