Blink on a mission

Charles Roberts' performance during Winnipeg Blue Bombers training camp is earning praise from his...

Charles Roberts' performance during Winnipeg Blue Bombers training camp is earning praise from his head coach. (Winnipeg Sun/Brian Donogh)

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:08 AM ET

When Charles (Blink) Roberts is feeling the heat, when he's got a big game coming up, or when the media is hounding him like there's no tomorrow, he heads to his happy place.

The haven for one of the most prolific running backs in Winnipeg Blue Bombers history has many different monikers. Around these parts, they have names like Kingswood, Tuxedo and John Blumberg.

That's right. The 5-foot-6, 171-pound Roberts isn't a guy who plays golf -- he's a golfer.

"It helps me relax," Roberts, 26, said yesterday. "It helps me take my mind off the pressures of football."

It's hard to believe that someone with his talent would feel pressure. He's already fifth on the Bombers all-time rushing list with 4,858 yards, he just signed a lucrative contract extension in April, and head coach Jim Daley has praised him for his spectacular play through five days of training camp.

Life's a beach, right?

Not quite. One of life's great motivators -- the fear of failure -- has a permanent home in Roberts' enigmatic mind.

HIGH PRESSURE

"There's a lot of pressure in football, especially coming off of four all-star (seasons) and to try to maintain that," he said. "I don't want to not be an all-star, because ... it's something I'm used to.

"I dread the year that they don't name me an all-star."

The way Daley and the coaching staff are talking, Roberts won't have to worry about not being an all-star this season. They say he's raised his game, which will be scary for the opposition if that's true.

Roberts said he is, in fact, working harder in this camp than any of his previous four because he wants to impress upon the new coaching staff that he's the real deal.

"It ain't no new Charles Roberts," he said. "It's just a motivated Charles Roberts, to be the best football player I can be and to help this team get back into the playoffs."

Blink has been known to run into his fair share of trouble with the team, from walking out for a few days during his rookie season to missing a team flight to Regina just this past Labour Day.

'COOL GUY'

He still has a cool relationship with the media thanks to those gaffes -- "You guys would rather it be me (who is late) than anyone else on the team," he said -- but he can't guarantee that the incidents are going to stop.

"I'm not saying it won't happen again, but I don't want it to happen again," he said. "Because Daley, he's a cool guy until you start bending the rules and stuff like that. I'm not trying to do that."

What he is trying to do -- aside from winning the CFL's Most Outstanding Player award -- is play as much golf as he can. He first hit the links about eight years ago when he was at Sacramento State University.

"I'm deeply in love with it, but I'm no good," he said. "I can just hit it far.

"I shoot high 80s, low 90s. It's taken me six or seven years to get there, though. And that ain't consistent. Sometimes I mess up and shoot 100.

"I shoot worse from the white tees than I do from the back tees. Figure that one out."

Great. Another mystery surrounding Roberts.

One thing appears certain, however: His football best is yet to come.


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