Bell sounds off about Bombers

Newly acquired Montreal Alouettes player Ricky Bell insists one person in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers...

Newly acquired Montreal Alouettes player Ricky Bell insists one person in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers organization is 'drunk with power.' (Winnipeg Sun File/Marcel Cretain)

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:00 AM ET

You don't think he might be a little bitter about missing most of the CFL season, do you?

This Bell was tolling loudly after the Montreal Alouettes acquired the suspended defensive back from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last week.

When the Bombers refused Ricky Bell's contract demands on the eve of training camp, the veteran import decided to retire so he would not get suspended for not reporting. Bell later unretired and was consequently suspended. But Bell maintains that the Bombers reneged on a promised restructured contract that would have paid him $90,000 this season.

"One person in the organization is drunk with power," Bell told the Montreal Gazette. "It was about respecting a person; I was talked to disrespectfully.

"It was hard watching games but it was the best decision I could have made."

Although reports have suggested that Bell had demanded a $20,000 signing bonus, "I can assure you that it was much higher than that," said Winnipeg GM Brendan Taman, who hinted that it may have been as much as $50,000. "He put me in a tough spot."

Taman claimed he does not know what Bell means when he accused the Bombers of reneging on their agreement.

"And I'm not sure what he means by 'drunk with power.' It could be me, it could be (CEO/president) Lyle (Bauer) but his dealings with Lyle were few and far between," he said. "Dealing with Ricky was always strange in itself and we always tried to keep him happy. But I have no ill feelings towards him."

In fact, the Bombers had almost convinced Bell to come back!

"We talked to him once a month and (head coach Jim Daley) talked to him at length," Taman revealed. "At one point, he said he'd come up at the end of August once he got his business straightened out."

But obviously, that never happened.

Because Bell's absence left such a gaping hole in the Winnipeg secondary, the Bombers finally acquired defensive back Anthony Malbrough and his $110,000 salary for safety Wes Lysack.

So, Taman was asked, did the 4-10 Bombers pay a steep price for taking such a hard line on Bell back in June?

"No," he replied. "We had a good chance to look at some people, and Brad Franklin and (Justin) Coleman and those other guys played effectively. But Malbrough's played a notch above those guys. It would have been great to have Ricky here but he didn't want to be here and that's an understatement. So, you've just got to move on. You always like to have veteran experienced guys but they're not very common to get.

"If one guy makes a difference, I would have paid a million to have him here if we weren't 4-10, but one guy isn't going to change that."

Well, maybe not a million.


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