Bombers to lock up Blink

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:30 AM ET

Blink will be making even more bucks this season.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are expected to announce today that all-star tailback Charles (Blink) Roberts has signed another contract extension that likely boosts his per annum to well beyond the $100,000-plus he was already making.

Although Brendan Taman declined comment, the Bomber GM had earlier told The Sun that he had planned to offer an extension to Roberts, who was in the club office yesterday. Roberts was named a CFL All-Star for a fourth straight year after leading the West in rushing with 1,522 yards on 300 carries last season.

STILL IMPROVING: Despite still recovering from treatments for throat cancer, Bomber president/CEO Lyle Bauer handled yesterday's entire press conference concerning the budget, including one-on-one interviews.

"Overall, I'm progressing nicely," Bauer said, his voice still squeaking somewhat. "Just being here and being able to talk is a good sign."

SECURING FUTURE: Bauer is determined to ensure a secure future for the football club that was in danger of folding not so long ago. Towards that end, the club boosted its stabilization fund to $309,586. It also has a rainy day fund that is closing in on about $1 million.

Although the Bombers earned another $219,653 on stadium management revenue after taking over Canad Inns Stadium from the city, that deal has yet to be finalized.

"We still don't have our deal inked with the city yet," Bauer said. "We're still exploring a little bit. We're still cautious about diving into this whole process until we get some things ironed out downtown. There are still some things about taking over a 50-year-old facility that we have to talk about and get cleared up. The facility requires some improvement.

"We still need some things to iron out with the city and the province. And, as you know, there is a feasibility study going on potentially about a new facility here, elsewhere or refurbishing this one. We're taking it very cautiously and very slowly so, when we do go forward, we want to go forward all guns a-blazing."

NOT DUNN YET: Out-going Bomber board chairman Gene Dunn and David Asper, his predecessor, will co-chair the 2006 Grey Cup. The two have already identified a full-time general manager, who will be announced shortly.

Ken Hildahl, vice-president of sales and marketing for Manitoba Blue Cross, has replaced Dunn as board chairman.

"It's just been great," Dunn said. "Lyle and his team are an excellent group to work with and, for me, it's been a privilege."


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