Opportunity knocking

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

When was the last time a receiver actually made a starting lineup without catching a single pass?

Try last Saturday when Scott Cloman was named to the official 40-man that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers submitted to the CFL. And even if the Bombers still do tinker with that lineup, Cloman will start in the club's season-opener against the Roughriders in Saskatchewan on Saturday.

While it may smack of desperation, Bomber head coach Jim Daley said it is simply a unique opportunity.

"He's in the right place at the right time," Daley said yesterday. "It's a projection from our point. How do you take a guy who's only played 11 plays for you in pre-season and had one practice -- and that was for only 10 minutes -- how do you forecast him to be the starter? If we had not had the injury problems we had, he probably wouldn't be.

CAPITALIZE

"He's been given an opportunity to play a position he knows and hopefully, he can apply those skills and familiarity to our offence. He gets an opportunity that, in another year, might not have been afforded him and we just hope he can capitalize on it."

Both Vinny Sutherland and Gilles Colon were hampered by injuries in training camp. The Bombers snapped up Cloman when the Edmonton Eskimos released him .

"They know what I can do," said Cloman, 28. "They saw what I did in the previous (pre-season) game when I played against them."

While Cloman caught only two passes for 19 yards against Winnipeg in Edmonton, the Bombers have been keeping close tabs on him for quite some time -- from his days in the NFL to the AFL to the XFL to NFL Europe to Edmonton.

UPHILL BATTLE

"In this business, there's not many opportunities you get like the one I'm getting here, when you come in and they say, 'Hey we want you to be one of the guys and produce for us,'" said Cloman, who caught passes from backup Bomber quarterback Tee Martin while in NFL Europe (Rhein Fire). "My (six-year) career has been an uphill battle so, for someone to have that type of confidence in me is a great honour.

"It's a better situation for me here than in Edmonton. As you know, there's a receiving corps with a lot of superstars there. So, I think I have a better chance here to prove myself. I'm just glad to be playing in Winnipeg now. I'm just blessed to be here and to play for a great organization such as this and I'm looking forward to producing for it and try to get to Grey Cup."

At 6-foot-3 and 212 pounds, Daley likes his new player's size to fill the boundary receiver position.

"Physically, it's a position that Cloman is sort of built for in terms of heights, size, hands and precise routes," he said.

Of course, if Cloman cannot start to catch passes, his stay on the starting roster will be shortlived.


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