For the first time in recent memory, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are actually forming a decent pass defence.
The local CFL club announced yesterday the signing of veteran cornerback William Fields, a free agent who has played for Calgary since 2001.
"We'll have a lot more experienced guys in the secondary coming into camp this year than we had last year," club GM Brendan Taman said.
Aside from Fields, those should include Ricky Bell, Eric Carter, Stephen Fisher, Wes Lysack, Justin Coleman, Cedric Dickerson and Jayson Bray, who is currently being allowed to play in the Arena Football League while still under contract to the Bombers (due to some strange rule that emerged during last week's CFL Congress). Taman is also hoping to re-sign DB Markese Fitzgerald and is still chasing free agent safety Shawn Gallant.
Fields, a 5-foot-8, 175-pound University of Houston product, had 28 tackles and four knockdowns for Calgary last season.
"We were hoping to get an experienced guy in the secondary and with (Davis) Sanchez going to Edmonton and Kelly Malveaux signing in the Arena league, we decided to go in another direction," Taman said. "And we're happy to get Willie. He's a pretty dependable guy who doesn't get beat a lot.
"He's been a real solid player for Calgary and knows our system. And he has some familiarity with some of our players here."
Some? The Bombers will soon be known as Calgary East as this is the fifth ex-Stampeder to arrive since late last season, joining others already here.
"I know," said Taman. "It's sort of neat to have those guys here. And I don't think they (Stamps) finished last because of those guys."
Fields, 26, could not be reached for comment.
Fields is the fourth free agent Taman has signed this winter. Aside from Gallant, he is still hoping to snag non-import offensive lineman Sherko Haji-Rasouli.
Taman is also expecting his own free agents to decide whether to return by today. He has been negotiating with linebacker Ryland Wickman, who could re-sign as soon as today. Taman is still negotiating with centre Cory Annett and is hoping to get an answer from defensive lineman Jon Oosterhuis. But he seemed doubtful that wide receiver Markus Howell will return.
HASHMARKS: OL Moe Elewonibi has officially came to terms with the B.C. Lions and DE Tyson St. James, a free agent who played for Winnipeg last year, is expected to follow him ... OL Dave Mudge and DL Doug Brown will appear on the Variety Club Children's Telethon (Global TV) on Sunday between 4 and 5 p.m.