Bombers re-sign pair

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

Brendan Taman probably slept like a baby last night.

Knowing that the Khari Jones trade won't end up biting you in the butt can do that to a CFL general manager.

In a move that had been anticipated for several days, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers yesterday announced the signing of free-agent defensive tackle Joe Fleming, 33, to a one-year contract plus an option.

The somewhat surprising news was the team had also inked free-agent fullback Scott Regimbald, 29, to a one-year deal plus an option.

IMPORTANT

And with safety Wes Lysack already under contract, it now means that all three players who in September were acquired from the Calgary Stampeders in exchange for quarterback Jones, fullback Randy Bowles and a 2006 draft pick will wear Blue and Gold in 2005.

"Had they both left, yeah, I probably would've gotten a lot of (grief) over it," Taman said. "It depends on how Khari and Randy do in Calgary, and I'm sure they'll do fine, but they are important signings.

"... It's a good start. It wouldn't have been a good start if we'd lost them, that's for sure."

Fleming, who was the CFL's Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2003, will make approximately $165,000 per year, while Regimbald will haul in an average yearly salary of about $65,000.

In other words, Fleming, Regimbald and Lysack, who showed up for yesterday's announcement, will make less money combined than Jones in 2005. Taman, however, while promising to be aggressive when free agency begins in February, isn't about to break the bank.

"Probably every team's probably going to be able to get three or four guys in free agency," Taman said, "and we just have to pick out the right three or four to get -- or more, whatever it turns out to be.

"... We have to be smart. The pie hasn't increased. It's just now some of it's been dispersed differently."

Taman, who viewed Fleming and Regimbald as irreplaceable, will now turn his attention to the club's 11 remaining free agents. Most notable are linebacker Ryland Wickman and offensive lineman Matt Sheridan.

Fleming and Regimbald, who are two of the closest friends in the CFL, were slam dunks to return when the Bombers officially named Jim Daley head coach two weeks ago. Daley was on the coaching staff in Calgary when both players played for the Stamps.

"Being here with Jim, that was the deal (maker) right there," Regimbald said. "He's a great guy."

Both players also mentioned the team's commitment to winning as a major reason for returning.

"When two guys who are supposed to be free agents -- and could've gotten some good offers -- end up signing in December ... that's pretty unheard of," said Regimbald, a non-import who was born in Montreal. "So there has to be something going on that's special."

Fleming, who hails from Boston, is in his second stint with the Bombers -- he played in Winnipeg in 1998 and 1999 -- and plans on staying on Maroons Road until the end of his career.

"People in Regina may argue, but there'd be no better place to win a Grey Cup than right here," Fleming said. "... Even flying in here today, it just felt right. When I was looking out the window of the plane, it felt good, it felt right. That's important.

"You never want to second guess or regret a decision, and this definitely feels like the right place."


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