REGINA — The Saskatchewan Roughriders acquired all-star defensive end Odell Willis on Thursday in a trade with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Saskatchewan received Willis and a conditional fifth-round draft pick in exchange for second (eighth overall) and fourth (23rd overall) round selections in the upcoming 2012 CFL Draft, as well as a conditional draft pick in 2013.
“Odell is arguably the best pass-rusher in the CFL,” said Roughrider general manager Brendan Taman. “I’m very confident he significantly upgrades our club on the defensive side of the football.”
The six-foot-two. 255-pound Willis began his CFL career with the Calgary Stampeders in 2009, when he signed on as a free agent before the season.
The 27-year old Mississippi native was acquired by the Blue Bombers via trade midway through that season.
“We would like to thank Odell for passionate intensity and contributions to our football club the past two and a half seasons,” said Bombers Vice-President of Football Operations and General Manager Joe Mack.
“However, it became evident through a combination of team and staff interactions, and several one-on-one discussions, that Odell no longer wanted to be a part of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Therefore, we felt it would be the best interest of both Odell and the organization to facilitate this trade and proceed in a different direction.”
The 27-year-old Mississippi native was acquired by the Blue Bombers via trade midway through that season.
Willis enjoyed a career season in 2011, piling up 27 tackles and 13 quarterback sacks. That performance earned him accolades as an East-Divison and CFL all-star.
During his three seasons in the CFL, Willis has tallied 78 tackles, 34 quarterback sacks and three fumble recoveries.