Less than a week after being released by the Montreal Alouettes, Darian Durant has signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The signing means Durant, who spent most of his career as a Roughrider, will likely be dressed in blue and gold for one of the biggest games of the year: the Labour Day Classic.
Durant said he has considered how weird it will be.
“You always kind of wonder what it’d be like on the other side, being the home team on the Banjo Bowl, being the road team during the Labour Day Classic. Not a lot of guys get to experience it from both sides, so I’m excited about that,” he explained during a media conference Sunday morning.
Bombers general manager Kyle Walters said Durant will provide support behind starter Matt Nichols.
“Not only is Darian a veteran player in our league, but he brings a wealth of experience to our quarterback room and our locker room. In many facets, it’s a great addition for us, and we welcome Darian to the Bomber organization,” Walters said.
The signing also marks a reunion between Durant and longtime friend and former Roughrider teammate Weston Dressler.
Durant said he spoke with Dressler throughout the week before the signing happened.
“Once we both departed Saskatchewan, we both kind of felt like we had our run and we will probably never be teammates again,” Durant said.
“I texted him last night and told him I’m excited just to talk football with (him) again because those are some of the things you miss … I’m glad to be able to get that back.”
The signing marks the end of a difficult two years for Durant, who was traded to Montreal after he was unable to reach a new deal with Saskatchewan. Durant struggled – along with the rest of the Alouettes team – in 2017, and was released ahead of receiving a sizeable signing bonus earlier this week.
“It’s just been a tough time over there. There have been so many coaches, different guys in and out of the lineup. It’s hard to build that stability when there’s so much change,” Durant said.
He’s hopeful he’s entered a much better situation in Winnipeg.
“The past two years, I’ve been in rough situations and — looking at the locker room in Winnipeg — I just wanted to get into a work environment where I was happy every day. I saw this as that opportunity,” he said.
Durant began his career with the Roughriders in 2006 but didn’t see any serious game time until 2008. In 2009, he became the team’s starter and went on to lead the Roughriders to three Grey Cup appearances and a Grey Cup win in 2013 at Taylor Field.
Durant was traded to the Montreal Alouettes in January of 2017.
Over 11 seasons in the league, Durant has gathered 31,740 yards and 167 touchdowns in 174 games and 128 starts. He’s 14th all-time in CFL passing yards and has rushed for 24 touchdowns.
Financial details of the one-year deal were not released.