Stamps Reinebold-esque

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

Take a look at Wane McGarity, and you see a little guy with a big smile and dreadlocks, for starters.

At 5-foot-8, the Blue Bomber receiver doesn't strike you as a guy who should be taking on linebackers, at least if he knows what's good for him.

Talking to him doesn't change your opinion, either.

"Right now, things in my life have just been kind of real smooth and easy-going," McGarity was saying at training camp yesterday. "Just like my personality. I'm smooth and easy-going."

Great. Another nice guy who finished last in Calgary a year ago. Just what the Bombers needed for a receiving corps that had more drops than a one-armed jugglers club.

Hold it right there, says head coach Jim Daley.

"Don't let the cover of the book fool you," the Bomber field boss said. "He is an aggressive, intense person. He's a receiver, but he plays the game with the intensity of a linebacker."

Daley wasn't done singing the praises of the 28-year-old.

Fearless approach

"He'll block a linebacker to spring a running back, he'll block a defensive back on a hitch screen to spring a wide receiver, he'll catch the ball while taking a hit and he'll return punts and kickoffs with a fearless approach to the game," Daley continued.

Actually, McGarity, a 190-pounder from San Antonio, isn't fearless at all.

He's downright terrified of losing, something he never did get accustomed to in Calgary the last two years.

Just look how quickly he got out when given the chance, agreeing to terms with the Bombers on the very first day of free agency in February.

One week into his new gig, he sounds like a drowning man who's back on dry land.

"A fresh start," McGarity called it. "Coming out of some pretty rough situations in Calgary, with a couple of losing seasons there, this is good for me."

If training camp means anything, it's going to be better for the Bombers.

No matter who's throwing the ball, McGarity is one of the best receivers on the field.

Just ask safety Wes Lysack.

"I'm a huge Wane fan," Lysack began. "But what he's been doing out here is just unreal. He looks back to his old self."

That would be 2003, McGarity's first full season in the CFL, when he caught 55 passes for 799 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games, numbers which dipped considerably last year.

You could say McGarity took a step back, or you could recall what happened in the Foothills, where the name Matt Dunigan probably carries the kind of connotations the name Jeff Reinebold does here.

"I honestly say it was probably the worst year of football in my life," McGarity said. "It was horrible. No one should have to go to their job, something they love to do on a daily basis, and not like it that much. It became more of an organizational thing than it did a team thing. There were things that were going wrong from the top and it trickled down to us as players."

Things got so bad, some players began speaking out, and McGarity was one of them.

The guy doesn't regret a single word, though.

"I will always be the voice of the player," McGarity said. "If the players are honestly saying the things they feel and it's not getting out there, you have a voice. I'm not a rebel. I'm not going to be one of those guys who's going to speak out just to be rude about it. If it has nothing to do about winning, then I won't say anything."

He doesn't plan on saying much this year, either, figuring there are already plenty of leaders here.

Bomber fans have heard all the talk, and would prefer leadership the old-fashioned way: on the field.

If McGarity can provide that, the season might just match the little guy's personality.

You know, smooth and easy.


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