The ex-Bison knows this could be his last shot at staying in the CFL.
Offensive lineman Devin Rodger was a late addition to the Winnipeg training camp yesterday as the Blue Bombers continue to experience injuries and defections in a key area. The University of Manitoba grad dressed for seven games with Edmonton last season and attended two previous Bomber camps. But the Eskimos released him after the Canadian draft and he was hoping someone else would pick him up.
"Camp started and nobody was calling so, I was getting pretty worried," Rodger admitted. "I was actually making plans to go to Europe in September to play in a semi-pro league but I'm happier to be here, where I'd much rather be."
Rodger, 29, was keeping close tabs on the Bomber O-line, where the live bodies kept dwindling.
"Yeah, I was reading it in the paper every day, watching it go down to nine and I kept calling my agent to ask, 'Are they looking for guys? Should I start prepping for September or am I going to get a shot?'" he said. "The day I got a call from (Bomber GM Brendan) Taman, I was pretty happy."
Although a size-small Hog, Rodger has already impressed head coach Jim Daley, who marvelled at his hit on linebacker Willie Fells, forcing him to drop an interception.
"He brought a little feistiness to the practice," said Daley. "He's only about 285 pounds, which is a little light by our (CFL) standards. So, he's under-sized but he flies. He ran as well as any fullback would. He moved very, very well and when he got to where he was going, he knew how to sit up and engage a block and sustain a block. I'm anxious to see how he does in the next 10 days or two weeks."
The Eskies actually told the 6-foot-2 Rodger to trim 15 pounds off his playing weight.
"I'm at 280 right now and I feel pretty good," he said. "My feet are a little slow on the run blocks but they're going to come (today). I'll kick that rust stuff off."
Taman, by the way, is still seeking another import O-lineman.
QUICK CAT: Pity the poor guy who has to try to beat out all-star RB Charles (Blink) Roberts.
"Oh man, the first time I saw Charles run with the ball, he really impressed me," said Marvin Townes, the only other import tailback in camp. "He runs like a big man."
Townes, however, just may be the fastest cat in camp. Townes, 24, has been clocked at 4.31 in the 40 and can run the 100-yard dash in 10.37. And the 6-foot, 200-pound East Carolina product has impressed Daley with his running skills.
"In another week or two, I think he'll really start to shine," Daley predicted. "He's shown indications of it even now while he's still learning the offence. As Marvin gets adjusted to our offence, his athleticism and speed are showing."
Townes is not going to beat out Blink but he could stick around as either a designated import or on the practice roster.
Camp continues today with practices starting at 8:15 a.m.