55 Yard Line

The Auburn shootings’ impact on Bombers’ DB prospect Demond Washington

Andrew Bucholtz
55 Yard Line

View photo

.

Demond Washington defending Oregon's Lavasier Tuinei in the 2010-11 BCS title game.

The world of professional football is a pretty small one, and we're frequently reminded of that when tragedies from south of the border have impacts on CFL players. The latest example is the horrific shootings at Auburn University Saturday, which killed two former Tigers' players (and another man) and injured a current player (and two other men). Winnipeg Blue Bombers' rookie defensive back Demond Washington played at Auburn, and he told Paul Wiecek of The Winnipeg Free Press that he was close to the two former players killed in the shootings, offensive lineman Edward Christian and fullback Ladarious Phillips:

"I played with them and they were my friends," Washington said following practice on Monday. "It's devastating for their families and for the whole Auburn family.

"They were all like brothers to me on that team," said Washington. "My heart goes out to their families."

Perhaps one of the most difficult things for Washington is that he doesn't really have much time to grieve. He's in a tough training camp battle for a roster spot, as last year's import starters at DB (Alex Suber, Brandon Stewart, Jonathan Hefney and Jovon Johnson) appear to have their positions locked down, and veterans Deon Beasley, Johnny Sears and Darrell Pasco are in the mix for backup jobs. The team seems likely to keep three backup import DBs at most, so there's a very real chance Washington could lose out here. It has to be brutally tough for him to try and keep his focus on the field while thinking about the friends he's lost.

Washington has an impressive resume, though, and he's gone through some tough situations before. He was part of the surprising Auburn 2010-11 national championship team that seemed to find a way to beat the odds week-to-week, particularly in their historic comeback from a 24-point deficit in the Iron Bowl against Alabama and their 22-19 triumph over Oregon in the BCS title game. He piled up the tackling stats over his two years with the Tigers, and also was successful as a kick returner. Last year, he spent part of the season with the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs, but was eventually cut. Making it in the CFL is never easy for a rookie, particularly one in as intense of a battle for spots as Washington is, and this tragic news about his friends certainly will make things tougher for him, but he's accomplished a lot to get here. Don't count him out just yet.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.
    • James Madison routs Sam Houston, reaches FCS semifinals

      James Madison routs Sam Houston, reaches FCS semifinals

      Fourth-seeded James Madison scored early and often while eliminating the fifth-seeded Bearkats 65-7 in the national quarterfinals at Bridgeforth Stadium in Harrisonburg, Virginia. James Madison (12-1), which won the CAA Football title under … More »

      AP - Sports - 3 minutes 3 seconds ago
    • Molina can't make weight, fight vs Crawford now for no title

      OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Challenger John Molina failed to make weight for his 140-pound fight against unified champion Terence ''Bud'' Crawford, meaning Molina won't be able to fight for a title Saturday night at CenturyLink Center. … More »

      AP - Sports - 3 minutes 8 seconds ago
    • UC Irvine cruises past Pomona-Pitzer 80-53

      IRVINE, Calif. (AP) -- Jaron Martin, Tommy Rutherford and Eyassu Worku scored 12 points apiece and UC Irvine cruised to an 80-53 win over Division III Pomona-Pitzer on Friday night. … More »

      AP - Sports - 4 minutes 6 seconds ago
    • Staal scores in 6th round of SO to lift Wild over Oilers

      Staal scores in 6th round of SO to lift Wild over Oilers

      The Wild are getting comfortable in close games, and good thing, because they got another nail biter Friday night. Eric Staal scored in the sixth round of a shootout and Minnesota beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2. Eighteen of the Wild's 26 contests … More »

      AP - Sports - 5 minutes ago
    • Schroder has career-high 33, Hawks rally past Bucks 114-110

      Schroder has career-high 33, Hawks rally past Bucks 114-110

      After scoring only 44 points in the first half, the Atlanta Hawks broke loose for 40 in the third quarter to turn the tide. Sparked by Dennis Schroder, who finished with a career-high 33 points, the Hawks rallied to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks … More »

      AP - Sports - 5 minutes ago