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Brandon Banks Sighting

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For those Washington fans that may not know, former Redskins kick returner Brandon Banks is now earning a paycheque in the Canadian Football League. After three years with Washington, Banks made the jump to Canadian Football last year, and will probably never look back.

This week he signed a 3-year deal with the Hamilton Tiger Cats. Banks spent last year with Hamilton, where he nearly stole the Grey Cup in the waning moments with a 90-yard punt return, unceremoniously called back for a penalty. That close call, and the promise of job security, made re-signing with the TiCats an easy decision for Banks.

“We came up short so we have some unfinished business,” Banks told CBC in a telephone interview. “That’s pretty much the drive behind returning here. I feel like we’ve started something and we want to finish it.”

Known to his teammates as “Speedy”, the diminutive receiver/returner said that he had received two short-term offers to return to the NFL, but didn’t want to give up a year of CFL play if he was cut during training camp.

“I didn’t really care about how much money I was worth, I was just worried about what was the best situation and being happy,” Banks offered. “I have some stability here.”

One thing’s for sure, he isn’t garden variety CFL talent. He led the entire league in combined yards (1,968) thanks to 618 punt return yards (also 1st), and 701 kick return yards (3rd). He broke a CFL playoff record with 226 punt return yards in the East Division final alone, and tied another record with 2 punt return touchdowns in one game.

TiCats coach and general manager Kent Austin certainly has plenty of good things to say about Speedy, “He’s one of the premiere playmakers in this league, he’s a game-changer. As a football player, the lowest common denominator is the ability to make plays and he’s got that in spades.”

Despite only playing in about one third of Hamilton’s offensive snaps, Banks also hauled in 42 catches for 529 yards and 5 touchdowns. He’d like to see those numbers improve:

“Everyone says I’m a return specialist but I want to get away from that,” he said. “I want to try to be an elite wide receiver. I can definitely improve upon my route-running and catching the ball and being in the spaces the quarterback wants me to be in.”

It’s good to see former NFL players continuing to ply their trade elsewhere. It shows a love of the game.

Speedy always seemed to have that in spades too.

Congratulations Brandon, keep tearing up the Great White North and good luck returning to the Grey Cup with Hamilton this year.

More By Mark Solway

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One Response to “Brandon Banks Sighting”

  1. Good to see Banks doing well. My impression is that the CFL rules value speed over weight. The longer and wider field, the 12 players, 3 downs, multiple men-in-motion at the snap: a player like Banks will fit where a 350 pound lineman probably won’t.

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