Bombers need for speed addressed

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:52 PM ET

Their hunt for fleet-footed pass catchers is likely complete now. The Winnipeg Bombers announced yesterday the signings of wide receivers Dimitrius Breedlove, who played for Hamilton last season, and ex-NFLer Vinny Sutherland while confirming that former Calgary Stampeder Wane McGarity has officially inked a one-year pact.

"Right now, we have addressed a significant headache with some options," said Bomber GM Brendan Taman, who will turn his pursuit to offensive linemen and defensive backs.

"We identified the receiver position as the No. 1 priority this off-season," Bomber head coach Jim Daley said in a statement. "These signings are a major step by Brendan Taman toward filling that need.

"Breedlove brings great size and speed, McGarity is a proven veteran as a receiver/kick returner with great quickness, and Sutherland is a proven receiver/kick returner with outstanding speed."

Breedlove, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound import, started the last CFL season with a bang before falling out of favour with the Tiger-Cats.

"I like him," Taman said. "He's a nice-sized guy who started the year off well, then sort of lost his niche.

"We're hoping that he can regain that niche."

The knock on Breedlove, 26, in Hamilton was that he had good wheels and good hands but would not fight for the ball. So he was relegated to the practice roster and later released, falling through the free-agent cracks. Yet, the former NFLer still caught 25 passes for 380 yards and two touchdowns in seven games.

Sutherland, also 26, was originally drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 2001 but was then signed as a free agent by the San Francisco 49ers. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound import returned 19 punts for 144 yards and 49 kickoffs for a rookie record 1,121 yards for San Francisco in 2001. But his NFL days were numbered when he was jailed for driving under the influence.

"Any time a guy has a record, it is a concern, but I'm not too worried about it," Taman said. "He has addressed the problem and it should be no problem getting him across the border.

"He has a chance to be pretty good for us. He can fly and he's a hard-nosed kid who can bring a lot to the table."

Sutherland played in the Arena Football League last year.

HASHMARKS: Taman was forced to postpone yesterday's meeting with veteran centre Moe Elewonibi to discuss his immediate future until next week ... Former Calgary QB Marcus Crandell, who was wooed in Montreal yesterday, plans to have more talks with the Bombers next week. In fact, he has already had several discussions with Daley, who had coached him in Calgary ... The agent for DB Kelly Malveaux (Montreal) told Taman he would be weighing offers over the next couple of weeks. With DB Clifford Ivory leaning towards returning to Toronto, that would leave the Bombers pursuing DBs Williams Fields (Calgary), Bo Lewis (B.C.) and Milo Lewis (Calgary) ... Taman is still waiting for a response to his contract offer from OL Sherko Haji-Rasouli (Montreal).


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