HAMILTON -- Brandon's Chris Bauman had his own posse ready to ride in from Brandon to cheer him on in Winnipeg last week.
Trouble is, a minor injury prevented the Wheat City native from making the trip to make his CFL debut, albeit in a CFL pre-season contest, at Canad Inns Stadium where he had played for both Team Manitoba and the Winnipeg Rifles.
"It happens in football," the Hamilton receiver said yesterday. "I'm always disappointed when I'm not playing but I think they (Tiger-Cats coaches) made the right decision. I wasn't 100% so, it would just have hurt me more and I'm glad I've got another one to play here (tonight)."
Bauman, 23, will make that CFL debut when Hamilton plays host to the Blue Bombers in another exhibition match at Ivor Wynne Stadium tonight.
"You know, nerves are starting to catch up right now but I'm sure once you get in there and take a few hits, those go out of the window right away and I'm just looking forward to it," said the 6-foot-4, 212-pound University of Regina product, picked No. 1 overall in the Canadian college draft.
"I just want to show that I can play and that they made the right choice in taking me (first)."
Hamilton cut veteran Canadian receiver Mike Morreale earlier this week, which should help Bauman's cause.
"I think so but I wish he was still around," Bauman said. "I could have learned a lot from him but those things happen and now, I guess it's our turn."
UNDER RADAR: Bomber cornerback Greg Moss, who has flown under the radar thus far, will also handle both kickoff and punt return duties tonight.
"You know how it is," said the former Ottawa Renegade. "The more you can do, the better it is so, I'm just trying to put myself in a good position to be here. I just want to show that I can play and that I'm a team player, that I can help my team reach its ultimate goal -- the Grey Cup."
Fred Reid, Gabriel Fulbright and Arjei Franklin will also return kicks.
SNAPPERS: With veteran long-snapper Chris Cvetkovich left at home, both linebacker Jordan Matechuk and Brad Newman will get a chance to show off their hiking skills tonight.
"This is my ticket," said Matechuk. "This is awesome to get this opportunity and I hope to take full advantage of it ... Chris taught me how to do this.
"I had a good base but Chirs came and tweaked it up a little bit two years ago.
"And I'm starting on every special (teams) so, I'm not just a long snapper.
"So, we'll see if I can fly down the field and see what comes from this."
And 16 players will make the squad on special teams.
"They have to be fanatical in terms of their hustle and desire and, at the end of that, make plays," said Bomber head coach Doug Berry.
HASHMARKS: Montreal GM Jim Popp, who acquired QB Brad Banks from Winnipeg on Wednesday, apparently tried to pry him out of Ottawa a few years ago. He also talked to Banks while he was a free agent last winter ... The Als, by the way, cut former Bombers Keith Stokes and Donnavan Carter ... Hamilton QB Jason Maas had shoulder surgery last December and has yet to fully recover.
"It's as good as it's going to be right now," he said .