Fells will bring soul

Willie Fells is pumped about returning to the CFL with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. (Winnipeg Sun...

Willie Fells is pumped about returning to the CFL with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. (Winnipeg Sun File Photo/Greg Laychak)

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

Seems like the Winnipeg Blue Bombers got their own "soul man" when they rescued Willie Fells from football obscurity two weeks ago.

Cut by the Calgary Stampeders in training camp, the import linebacker passed on a couple of offers to play elsewhere so he could open the only soul food restaurant in Cowtown, the Miles Avery Restaurant and Martini Lounge (which is named after his son). But that meant taking the entire season off.

"I knew I'd play again because I wasn't released because of my ability," Fells said after being tracked down in Calgary yesterday. "It's just that they had a lot of good linebackers here. But I knew I could play again."

And the Bombers are hoping that the 6-foot-1, 230-pound Purdue University product will return to his 2003 form when he recorded 45 defensive tackles, three forced fumbles, three fumble returns, an interception and a sack.

"He's a good linebacker," Bomber GM Brendan Taman said last week. "He's very active and spunky, a good veteran guy who brings some attitude."

Fells, 27, has tried to stay in football shape during his time away and is stepping up his training in preparation for camp that starts in late May.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity, and I'm really looking forward to stepping on the field again," said Fells, who scored what proved to be the winning touchdown in Calgary's Grey Cup victory over the Blue Bombers in 2001. "(Bomber head coach Jim) Daley coached me in Calgary, and you always feel more comfortable going where you know the coach and the system. I know his desire is to win the Grey Cup and his work ethic is incomparable."

Fells, in fact, is the sixth former Stamp from that team to be lassoed by Winnipeg. And that does not include all of Winnipeg's ex-Stamps who did not play for Calgary in 2001.

"Yeah, it's starting to look like Calgary, Manitoba," he joked.

GRID BIT: The Bombers are expected to announce that Jim Timlick is their new media/public relations director, and no, he did not come from Calgary.


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