Blue chase down rush end

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:29 AM ET

His mouth seemed to water as Brendan Taman discussed the latest recruit for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

In fact, the club's GM even dared to compare him to Tom Canada, the defensive end who was Winnipeg's nominee for the CFL's top rookie last season.

FINALLY SIGNED

After chasing him since the NFL draft ended, Taman finally signed University of Louisville rush end Marcus Jones.

"He was one of those guys who, after the draft that I kept blabbin' about that, I said that if I could get one or two guys, I'd be happy," Taman said yesterday. "And he was one of two guys that I was really pursuing."

The 6-foot, 237-pound Jones had been projected as a sixth-round draft pick or, at worst, signed as a free agent after the draft.

"He was another one of those guys who fell through the cracks because he is too small to be a defensive lineman (in the NFL) and too big to be a linebacker. He's pretty special. He's perfect for the CFL. He's a pass-rush specialist. He comes off the edge like he is coming out of a gun."

In fact, Jones runs better than Canada.

"Tom plays the game with a very high level of energy," said Taman, who discovered Canada last year. "I don't want to say this guy doesn't but he probably runs a little bit better than Tommy. He's a faster player. He's a legit prospect."

Jones, 22, recorded 91 defensive tackles and 23 sacks during his U.S. college career and appears to be the favourite to replace Elfrid Payton.

The Bombers will announce three or four more players before training camp starts and are still pursuing a U.S. college quarterback.

TV DRAFT? Speaking of drafts, word out of Vancouver is that the CFL is looking into televising next year's draft, coinciding with the CIS under-graduates all-star game in mid-May.

"It's a good idea, I'm all for that," Taman said. "(But) I'd rather have it in April."

The draft was televised years ago and held along with board of governors meetings. Economics put a stop to that and it has been conducted by teleconference since.

NAME THAT PARK: The Calgary Stampeders are reportedly looking into raising some extra cash by selling the naming rights to McMahon Stadium, similar to the Bomber deal with Canad Inns, which was worth about $1.75 million over 10 years.

NICE PERK: Kelsey McKay, a high school football coach at Churchill, has been awarded a trip to the 2005 NFL Youth Football Summit at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, Aug. 4-7, NFL Canada announced yesterday. McKay was selected from a number of nominees who are recommended for their work in football, to represent NFL International at the summit.

BUSY DAY: Edmonton signed a defensive lineman, Charles Alston, who holds the distinction of being the only NCAA athlete to ever play both football and basketball on the same day, Nov. 17. His basketball jersey, football pants and cleats are apparently on display at the NCAA Football Hall of Fame.


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