Bombers a perfect stage

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

They have lost one star of stage and another of screen but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers landed another aspiring actor yesterday.

They hope that veteran non-import running back Jarrett Smith can star on the CFL gridiron. Or at least fill a supporting role.

Quarterback Khari Jones, who acted in several local stage plays, is now in Edmonton and wide receiver Robert Gordon, who appeared in several sports movies, is in the Arena Football League. Smith, who played six years for Hamilton, appeared in Second String, a made-for-TV movie, and a re-make of Brian's Song.

More importantly, the 5-foot-11, 208-pound University of Waterloo product was a special teams standout for Hamilton before being cut prior to training camp last year. Smith then sat out the season.

"I had knee surgery at the end of 2003 and I wasn't 100% by training camp," Smith said from his Hamilton home. "We had a deal where I was going to come back when I was 100% but that never worked out so, I gave up the year."

A personal trainer, Smith was hired as a personal assistant to a young marathoner who is autistic last year.

"I stayed in shape until another opportunity came around and now, I'm really excited," said Smith, who turns 32 next month. "I'm really looking forward to coming up there. I've always enjoyed playing in Winnipeg with those crowds. They're great, even if they weren't always so kind to us."

Bomber special teams coach Scott Fawcett, who had coached him in Hamilton, recommended Smith.

"He's a Canadian who's a demon on special teams," said Bomber GM Brendan Taman. "I know he was a tough kid to play against whenever we played against him and he's got a good chance to make our team."

BUSY BEAVER: Taman believes that the NFL and CFL drafts are too close together. He spent the last two days fielding calls from prospects who were passed over in the NFL draft on the weekend and monitoring those on the Bomber neg list while preparing for tomorrow's CFL draft.

"This is the busiest week of the year from my end," he said. "The challenge is to get ready for our draft and to find a guy who's fallen through the (NFL) cracks who's good enough to make our team."

Taman is keeping a close eye on such U.S. college quarterbacks as Chris Ricks, Lang Campbell and Bradden Littlejohn, who were still looking for work yesterday.

QB CHALLENGE: Winnipeg's Kevin Glenn will be one of 13 CFL QBs who will compete in the first annual Damon Allen Quarterback Challenge, to be held in Toronto on May 14. The four-event skills challenge will be used to raise funds for Kids Help Phone, a cause "that is close to my heart," Allen, the charity's honourary chairman, said during a teleconference call yesterday. Starting in June, The Score will air 60 episodes of the event. Money will be raised through both corporate sponsorship and gate revenue.

The QBs will also compete for prize money and to become known as the Best of the Best in the CFL.


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