Charles Roberts Gone in the Blink of an Eye

Joel LefevreAnalyst ISeptember 2, 2008

The soap opera that is the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' season took another dramatic twist Monday as they traded star running back Charles Roberts to British Columbia in exchange for RB Joe Smith. 

The trade comes as a massive shock to fans in Winnipeg who have enjoyed the speedster for eight years, watching him break team records and dominate on the ground.  The Bombers now are left reeling after a promising season has gone sour with their most productive player over the last eight years suddenly gone.

What more can be said about this season that hasn't already been said?  The Bombers have unbelievably struggled all season and have shown very little sign of improvement throughout. 

Following the trade, Roberts appeared relatively upbeat for a guy who had helped carry this franchise for years. "I'm going to come in with the same attitude that I've had for the last eight years," he told CKNW.  "I'm going to go out there and be the best I can at my position and help my offence move the ball down the field." 

Without a doubt he will be a welcome edition to the Lions' backfield, who have had their share of struggles as they are at 4-5 and dead last in the West.

In Joe Smith, Winnipeg gets a man who was last year's leading rusher and was also an integral part in the Lions' Grey Cup victory in 2006.  While Smith has only appeared in four games this season, last year's stats of 1,510 yards and 18 touchdowns on 281 carries is reason for optimism.  The fact the he also has a grey cup ring is a positive. 

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While he may not have as much flash and speed as Roberts did, Smith brings a lot of power and versatility to a struggling Bomber ground game.

Roberts no doubt will be missed in Winnipeg as he has brought to this franchise something fans here have not seen for a while—an exciting running back, who is versatile, flashy, and not afraid to take some punishment. 

Going into this season, Roberts amassed 9,987 yards rushing on 1,853 carries, including six 1000-yard seasons.  This season his totals dropped considerably, as he has 517 yards rushing on 111 carries. 

So the Bombers must now move on without blink, and turn the page on a new era in Bombers history.  Charles Roberts leaves as the greatest running back in Bomber history and will without a doubt be a first-ballot Hall of Famer some day.  For now, all that's left to say is, "Best of luck, Charlie."

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