Pink slips com­ing for some

With new play­ers ar­riv­ing soon, some Bombers in dan­ger

Winnipeg Free Press - Section D - - FOOTBALL - By Ed Tait

THIS is the law of the Cana­dian Football League, es­pe­cially when a team is 1-7 and be­ing squeezed by a sixgame los­ing streak:

Usu­ally, with ev­ery new ar­rival of tal­ent there is an ac­com­pa­ny­ing exit.

And so as the Win­nipeg Blue Bombers spoke of bring­ing in a hand­ful of new play­ers in the wake of Satur­day’s 37-14 loss to the Hamil­ton Tiger-Cats, it’s worth not­ing how that might im­pact those cur­rently hold­ing down the fort in the club­house.

That’s why so many vet­er­ans eye the Labour Day week­end as a crit­i­cal point, not just be­cause it nor­mally sig­ni­fies the half-way point of a cam­paign, but be­cause of how it im­pacts their sta­tus and their bank ac­counts.

For ex­am­ple, a vet­eran of six or more years would have his con­tract guar­an­teed for the re­main­der of the sea­son af­ter the ninth game played by the club. Here is the of­fi­cial break­down:

Vet­eran of six or more years — guar­an­teed af­ter the ninth game played by the club.

Vet­eran of five years — guar­an­teed af­ter the 10th game played by the club.

Vet­eran of four years — guar­an­teed af­ter the 11th game played by the club.

Vet­eran of one to three years — con­tin­ues to re­ceive med­i­cal ben­e­fits cov­er­age (only) if re­leased af­ter the 14th game played by the club.

All this means the vets pos­si­bly most af­fected this week are those who have been around the long­est: QB Buck Pierce, SB Ter­rence Edwards, PK Sando DeAn­ge­lis (9th year); OL Steve Mor­ley (8th); CB Jovon John­son, CB Bran­don Ste­wart, OL Glenn Jan­uary (7th) and LB Pierre Luc-Labbe (6th).

Of that crew, Pierce left Satur­day’s loss with what head coach Tim Burke re­ferred to as “some kind of up­per-body in­jury, neck or shoul­der or some­thing like that” — it’s un­likely the club would re­lease an in­jured vet­eran — DeAn­ge­lis has drawn praise for his work since his ar­rival, John­son, Ste­wart and Jan­uary are all starters while Labbe and Mor­ley are both Cana­dian.

It was leaked on the week­end that for­mer Ticat pivot Ja­son Bol­tus is one of the new ar­rivals, and while Burke and the Bombers were not made avail­able to the me­dia on Mon­day as they played in their an­nual golf tour­na­ment, the head coach did tell CJOB on his daily show that two of the oth­ers are re­ceivers.

Burke did say there was a pos­si­bil­ity Max Hall, who in­jured his throw­ing hand early in the loss to the Ti­cats, could still be green-lighted for this week’s game. The Bombers will be back on the field for prac­tice on Wed­nes­day in ad­vance of the an­nual Labour Day Clas­sic in Regina — a con­test they have dropped eight years run­ning and in which the Roughrid­ers are favoured by two touch­downs.

CURSE AMONG YOUR­SELVES, BOMBER FANS: Con­sider this: on the week­end the CFL on TSN panel — in­clud­ing Matt Du­ni­gan, Milt Ste­gall, Paul LaPo­lice and Chris Schultz — was asked to of­fer up its mid-sea­son picks for the var­i­ous awards. As top rookie, three of the panel se­lected Calgary cen­tre Brett Jones, who is start­ing, while one chose Mon­treal start­ing safety Mike Edem — both of whom are Cana­di­ans the Bombers by­passed in the 2013 CFL Draft. Win­nipeg se­lected sec­ond over­all and grabbed DE Andy Mu­lumba, al­most cer­tain to make the Green Bay Pack­ers ros­ter, and then with the 11th pick chose DB Kris Robert­son — who suf­fered a torn ACL just prior to camp and was lost for the sea­son. Edem, for the record, was se­lected third over­all while Jones lasted un­til the 16th pick.

FINE PER­FOR­MANCE: Burke told lis­ten­ers to his ra­dio show Mon­day night that de­fen­sive end Alex Hall, who at one point dur­ing the game was seen wav­ing off the side­line when he was or­dered off the field, will be fined heav­ily for his re­fusal.

WRIN­KLE WORKS: One of the high­lights from the week­end loss — for the Ti­cats — was the old throw-back-to-theQB trick play that saw re­ceiver On­rea Jones com­plete a pass to Dan LeFevour for a 29-yard TD.

The Ti­cats used part of two days of prac­tice last week to find a QB can­di­date who could make the throw.

“Guys at this level all tell you that they played quar­ter­back in high school and they are all great play­mak­ers,” Hamil­ton head coach Kent Austin told the Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor.

“Then you get them out there un­der pres­sure and they are killing worms with the ball or throw­ing it into the stands.”

MARK BLINCH / REUTERS AR­CHIVES

Bombers quar­ter­back Buck Pierce (front) gets sacked by Tiger-Cats.

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