October 12, 2012
Winnipeg RB Chad Simpson making his mark
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
WINNIPEG - When he looks up in the stands at Canad Inns, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back can spot more than a few.
No. 5 jerseys with Simpson on the back.
Some are a little more old-school than what Chad Simpson wears during his first season with the Bombers.
It just so happens that for four years, middle linebacker Barrin Simpson was a popular fellow in the ’Peg, and his fans remain.
“I’m OK with that,” Simpson said. “Barrin isn’t No. 5 anymore. They know it’s Chad.
“I’m happy to see them. It’s always been a dream to see someone wear your jersey.
“It means you are a key player. You don’t want to be a regular player.
“It shows they love you when they purchase your jersey. It warms my heart.”
If Chad Simpson keeps up what he’s done in his first season with the Bombers, he should have no trouble gaining new supporters.
During a 4-10 campaign where there have been many boo-worthy events, the 27-year-old should be celebrated for his efforts.
Even when his team was getting humiliated 44-3 a month ago at McMahon Stadium, the Morgan State product was chugging along as hard as possible, right until the end.
As teammates were caught laughing on the bench, to the embarrassment of the team, Simpson was trying for hard yards.
“He’s a competitor,” Bombers head coach Tim Burke said. “He’s one of the guys on the team the guys really look up to, even though he’s a newcomer to the team.
“The thing for him, is he always goes hard. He plays with a lot of pain. He doesn’t practice all week because of injuries.
“He’s a great example for everybody else.
“He played extremely hard against Calgary the last time, just as he does every week.”
Simpson came to the Bombers after several years toiling in the NFL, where he played in 28 games, 25 of which were with Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.
He came into this season thinking he was joining a contender, and he was far down the depth chart, as Chris Garrett was supposed to be the No. 1 running back.
Garrett injured his Achilles in training camp, and Simpson took over in Week 4 after Bloi-Dei Dorzon failed to take the ball and run with it.
Things haven’t gone the way he expected in terms of wins, but that doesn’t stop Simpson from working.
“One thing I took from mom is this is something I loved to do,” Simpson said. “Whenever you have something you love to do, you need to show appreciation no matter the conditions.
“No matter what point it is in the game, I just keep going. Whatever you put on film is your resume. I’m an athlete. This is my career. I don’t want to just put anything on film. I want to go 100% every play.”
In just 11 starts, Simpson is pushing towards a 1,000-yard campaign. It’s a personal goal, as he tries to run the Bombers back into the playoff chase.
“It would mean a lot,” Simpson said. “It would be my first 1,000 yards as a pro. It’s not that far-fetched. I only need 217 yards. I have four games. If I can’t get that, then something is wrong with me.”