Blue camp set to open

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:44 AM ET

Today's the day that Brendan Taman will finally realize the fruit of his off-season labour.

Or, perhaps, it's the day that will give the Winnipeg Blue Bombers general manager a massive migraine.

Most of the football players who will attend the Bombers training camp, which begins tomorrow morning, will fly or drive into the city today.

Or, perhaps, they won't.

"(Today) the surprises start," Taman said last night.

Will the players who are renegotiating their contracts going into their option years -- specifically offensive lineman Orlando Bobo, defensive back Ricky Bell and quarterback Tee Martin -- show up?

Bombers head coach Jim Daley suggested that they should consider doing just that.

"We go to camp Saturday with medicals, and we expect all players who want to play for this team to be here on time," Daley said. "If contract negotiations are going on for next year and the year after, they can be done concurrently.

"I would not, as a coach, appreciate or expect that a player would compromise the current year for the future year by those negotiations."

Taman isn't sure about Bobo, but yesterday he spoke with Bell personally and with Martin's representative. The GM said he has "strong feelings" that both Bell and Martin will be in town for the start of camp.

FINISHING TOUCHES: Taman is still in the process of filling out his training camp roster, which has four open spots.

He is trying to get DB Markese Fitzgerald, DT Ben Lynch and RB Marvin Townes, plus another DB, to put their names on contracts.

Taman is also working on signing QB Russ Michna, which, if achieved, would end Stanley Jackson's days in Blue and Gold.

"Until I have quarterbacks here at the time they're supposed to be here, I'm going to keep that little glimmer of hope open for him," Taman said of Jackson's status.

Jackson is disappointed at the timing of what will surely be his dismissal.

"The fact that they're doing this so late might mean that I might be unemployed this year," he said yesterday from his home in Warm Springs, Ark.

"I've stopped packing, I'll tell you that much."

Jackson had been told that his status depended upon whether or not Martin reported to camp. When told yesterday that it also depended upon Michna's signing, Jackson wasn't happy.

"If that's the case, and that's what I'm on hold for, that upsets me more than the Tee Martin thing," he said.

AND WE QUOTE: "You have to take the steps, which I think we've taken many of over the winter, to put ourselves into a position of rebuilding as fast as possible. Time is always urgent in our sport, so we're not going in with a five-year plan. It's unrealistic in today's day and age."

-- Daley, discussing how the Bombers need to start winning immediately.

LATE HITS: Steven Goldman, Andy Cox, Bill Dole, Jeff Cummins and Richard Urbanovich will be guest coaches at training camp ... Physicals will be held tomorrow morning, followed by team meetings ... The players will hit the Canad Inns Stadium field for the first time on Sunday morning, with practices at 8:15 and 10:45. The public is welcome to attend.


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