Calgary Stampeders acquire DB Jonathan Hefney after he was cut by Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive back Jonathan Hefney catches a pass during practice in Winnipeg...

Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive back Jonathan Hefney catches a pass during practice in Winnipeg Sept. 29, 2010. (BRIAN DONOGH/Winnipeg Sun)

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:31 PM ET

Jonathan Hefney never had to apply for unemployment insurance.

The talented defensive back was out of work for just three days before the Calgary Stampeders scooped him up.

The two-time CFL all-star said he was shocked when he was released by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Saturday.

“It was a surprise to me,” Hefney said. “But the (Stamps) welcomed me in. It’s like a family here.

“Coach Huf feels good about what I can do and my abilities.

“I’m happy to be with a team that just went to a Grey Cup.”

While the Bombers maintain Hefney was cut based on his performance last season and in camp this spring, there is little doubt off-field issues played a role in the decision.

The 28-year-old, who had signed a three-year contract extension in January, was caught with having six-plus grams of marijuana in his truck prior to training camp.

He failed to inform the Bombers, and the club was taken by surprise last week when news out of South Carolina revealed an upcoming court date, which will be handled by his lawyer Wednesday.

Hefney was asked if his legal ordeal has been a learning experience.

“Getting in trouble? Oh man, I never get in trouble,” he said. “I’m always smiling, running around being happy and never do anything too bad.

“For me to get in trouble that one time, it’ll never happen again. I learn from my mistakes.

“My mom got on me. My dad got on me. I’m good now.”

That had better be the case because Stamps GM/head coach John Hufnagel runs a tight ship in Calgary.

But Hufnagel said he doesn’t expect the 5-foot-9, 185-pounder to give him any headaches off the field.

“He was on the street, and he’s a good football player,” Hufnagel said. “We had discussions with him, and I was comfortable with his situation. He can bring a lot to the table.

“He had the charge before training camp and it is, to my knowledge, the only blemish on his record.

“I’m confident he learned a valuable lesson.”

The newcomer filled in for injured linebacker Keon Raymond at Tuesday’s practice, but Hufnagel said he hasn’t decided where the versatile defender will line up long-term.

Hefney was one of the top defenders in the CFL two seasons ago.

But Bombers coach Tim Burke claimed Hefney’s play has deteriorated.

“I just have to go out and prove,” Hefney said. “That’s all I’ve been doing since I was five or six years old. I’ve always been the smallest.

“I like to go out and prove, and play hard every play.”

Stamps defensive co-ordiantor Rick Campbell and assistant GM John Murphy played a big role in bringing Hefney to Winnipeg when both were with the Bombers in 2009.

Hefney said he’s eager to show Campbell and Murphy he’s the same player they recruited out of the University of Tennessee.

“They were the guys who brought me in when I was sitting in Tennessee taking classes,” Hefney said. “I went to Florida and went to training camp.

“They brought me into Winnipeg, and the rest was history.”

His time suiting up in blue and gold is also history.

But he seems just fine with his new colours.

“I got this red and black on,” Hefney said. “I like those colours.

“My mom says I look good in red.”

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNScottFisher


Videos

Photos