Winnipeg – It took an injury to veteran offensive tackle Pat Neufeld, but gigantic Travis Bond will make his debut for the Winnipeg Blue bombers when they visit Edmonton on Thursday. The Bombers signed Bond as a free agent in March and from the moment they saw him in training camp, they were impressed. But a minor injury and the strong play of Jermarcus Hardrick left Bond on the outside looking in when the season began. Now, 5 games in, Bond will became the third American on a Winnipeg offensive line that intends to make life manageable for quarterback Matt Nichols when the Bombers meet the Eskimos.
Bond is 6-7, 355 pounds and says he is glad the waiting is over. “It was very frustrating. The first pre-season game, I had a pretty good game and on the next to the last play of the game I hurt my foot. It was a little setback but I’ve been waiting, getting better and the time is here to make the best of it and show the other teammates I can play some ball” said Bond. The large graduate of North Carolina was a 7th round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2013. He has also been with Carolina and St. Louis and had a stint with the L.A. Kiss of the Arena league before turning his attention north and signing with the Bombers. Winnipeg head coach Mike O’Shea says he’s excited to see Bond finally play in a game because in addition to his massive frame, he is also agile and quick.
Bond will lineup at left guard against Edmonton between tackle Stanley Bryant and center Mathias Goossen. Jermarcus Hardrick will move to right tackle while Sukh Chung has shaken off an injury and will resume his work at right guard.
As of Tuesday’s practice, O’Shea still hadn’t made final decisions on his injury riddled secondary. But it looks like Taylor Loffler will get the call at safety although Brendan Morgan also took a lot of turns at that spot leading up to the game.