Veteran cut loose

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

Another day, another veteran gonzo.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, it seems, have given up on import defensive lineman Melvin Bradley. Although he called head coach Jim Daley on Friday to relate a family medical emergency, he has not returned calls since. So the club has suspended Bradley and replaced him with defensive lineman Buck Rasmussen.

"No one has been able to communicate with Bradley so he's no longer in our plans," Bombers GM Brendan Taman said yesterday. "And we got a real good replacement so I come out smelling like a rose."

Rasmussen, 26, is a 6-foot-4, 285-pound import who won a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots last year. Taman had been chasing the Nebraska-Omaha product -- who flew into town in time for the first practice yesterday -- for a couple of years.

The Bombers lost veteran receiver Geoff Drover when he failed his physical on Saturday. On Friday, both veteran defensive back Ricky Bell and offensive lineman Orlando Bobo filed CFL retirement papers after negotiations for extended contracts with the Bombers failed.

ANOTHER CATCH: Taman also flew in former Saskatchewan slotback Patrick Thibeault from Regina Saturday night to replace Drover. The agent for the 6-foot-2, 205-pound St. Mary's product had been calling Taman since the Roughriders cut him.

"I got the phone call yesterday afternoon and Brendan offered me the job," said Thibeault, 28. "So I was a little tired this afternoon. This morning went well. This afternoon, my energy level went down a little bit because I only slept a few hours (Saturday) night. I'm happy to be here, though."

In the morning, Thibeault made a number of quality catches but dropped one in the afternoon.

"I'm just trying to get the rust out, then I'll be ready to roll again," he said. "This morning, I made a couple of good catches and ran some good routes. This afternoon, a little sloppy but I hope to redeem myself (today). Hopefully, I can get a good night's sleep."

Daley was impressed.

"He runs very well," the coach said.

"He's very fast. He has familiarity with our game and looks very comfortable in CFL offence."

MINI-MILT: Daley had some fun with Winnipeg Rifles slotback Simon Blaszczak after his hero, veteran SB Milt Stegall, took him under his wing at practice.

"Milt had a very good day and Mini-Milt (Blaszczak)) had a great catch in the team period so Mini-Milt was very proud today," he joked.

"It was incredible," said the 6-foot-3, 207-pound Blaszczak. "The guys out here are a lot bigger, a lot faster and a lot smarter so I'm going to have to learn quickly. At first I was a little nervous but once I got out there and ran a few patterns, I kind of settled down. And just watching Milt run is like playing two years of football.

"I felt pretty comfortable. The guys are really supportive."

SICK BAY: OL Matt Sheridan (jaw) and Todd Krenbrink (flu)) are day to day. WR Vinnie Sutherland suffered leg cramps after diving for a pass but is OK.


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