Can't beat experience

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:40 AM ET

The man called SWAC had some friendly advice for CFL teams hoping to find someone younger to play a position he has mastered in the CFL.

Defensive end Elfrid Payton is awaiting a call from any CFL squad interested in his services, including the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tiger-Cats. But both have indicated that they are looking to younger men first.

"People just can't come in and play that defensive end spot," Payton said from his Gretna. La., home yesterday. "There's a reason I've been there all these years. You've got to have a special talent to play that spot."

The Bombers asked him to be patient while they tried a younger player last season before finally giving him the call.

Trouble is, Payton turns 38 in September and will have to be replaced sooner or later. However, Payton said that Bomber head coach Jim Daley called him a couple of weeks ago to see if he would be interested in returning to Winnipeg. But he has not heard from the Bombers since then.

"I would love to come back there," said Payton, who recorded five sacks to leave him three short of tying the all-time CFL record. "I'm hoping that they call on me. I'm in shape and ready to go."

Although the Bombers do not have an experience defensive end coming to camp right now, veteran interior lineman Joe Fleming can play outside.

Payton also spoke to B.C. Lions defensive co-ordinator Dave Ritchie yesterday, but the former Bomber head coach did not offer him a job.

"That's not his call out there," Payton said.

Lions head coach/GM Wally Buono admitted that they had discussed the possibility of signing Payton but indicated that those chances are remote right now.

Payton was also aware that Hamilton traded defensive end Joe Montford to Edmonton and had lost defensive end Tim Cheatwood to the NFL. But he had not heard from the Tiger-Cats.

"I haven't called nobody," he said. "If somebody's interested, they can call me."

CAT SOAP: Montford, by the way, found it curious that the Ticats declined to offer him a big raise, claiming to be financially responsible, then turned around and offered contracts to Doug and Darren Flutie.

"It's this simple," Ticats GM Ron Lancaster Sr. told the Hamilton Spectator. "We have a salary structure. It's not my structure, it's the club's structure ... We were at the limit of where we were going to go to."

In another interesting turn of events, it looks like linebacker Marcus Spencer will not be returning to Hamilton, which means the Tabbies need a linebacker even more. The Bombers have extra linebackers and need an offensive lineman. Hamilton has a wealth of O-linemen.

HASHMARKS: As part of the club's 75th anniversary, the Bombers are asking their fans to relate their single best memory of the past 75 seasons. The best ones will be shared on www.bluebombers.com. Responses can be sent to media@bluebombers.com or fax 204-783-5222 ... Saskatchewan Roughriders re-signed DBs Eddie Davis and Davin Bush yesterday.


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