Patient LB rewarded with start

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:46 AM ET

Cue the obstetrician.

This baby's ready to play.

Import linebacker Willie Fells will finally get his first chance to play a regular-season game since he signed with the Blue Bombers last winter. Fells will replace injured middle linebacker Ryland Wickman (elbow) when the Montreal Alouettes come to town tomorrow night.

"I guess it's an overdue pregnancy, huh?" Fells suggested yesterday. "I've been pregnant for about 11 months now. It's time to get that baby out of there. It's been a year since I played a regular-season game, then I played in the pre-season. Finally, I'm out there playing when the chips count."

The 6-foot-1, 230-pound former Calgary Stampeder has been languishing on the practice roster despite an impressive training camp.

"It gets frustrating at times but, you've got to be patient and not think about it, stay focused on where you're going and what you're trying to do," said Fells, 28. "It's definitely frustrating when the guys are losing and you want to be out there in the battle with them. So here's my chance to contribute."

Fells knew he would either have to beat Wickman out coming in or wait for him to get hurt, said Winnipeg head coach Jim Daley.

"Willie has waited his time rather patiently but no player is totally patient," he said. "Everyone wants to play, that's how you earn your living. The hard part, as a coach, is to keep in mind that players of Willie's calibre can only wait so long before you lose him to another team, or they move on."

BOMBERS HONOURED: Two Bombers were named CFL players of the week, despite Winnipeg's 14-12 loss to the Eskimos in Edmonton last week. CB William Fields, who intercepted two passes, made three tackles and recorded a knockdown, got the nod as top defensive player. Defensive end Gavin (The Gift) Walls got it for top lineman.

"We didn't expect it but I'm glad we got it," said Fields. "A lot of people have been down on the defence, which I guess we deserved because we've got a lot of new players. But we came together and it just shows what hard work can do for a defence."

Walls recorded three sacks, several hurries and three defensive tackles.

"We call him 'The Gift' because he's a gift to us and a curse to everyone else," said CB Omar Evans.

Bombers S Wes Lysack was also the first runner-up as the top defensive player.

"The (recognition) speaks highly for the effort of our defence and the play of our defence last week," Daley said.

Both P Jon Ryan and LB Neil McKinlay were runners-up in the special teams class. Not a single Bomber was considered in the offensive categories.

HASHMARKS: QB Kevin Glenn will replace Spergon Wynn on the roster. Wynn has been waive-injured with turf toe, said Bombers GM Brendan Taman ... DB Boyd Barrett (neck) returns from injury, replacing LB Scott Mennie ... DB Justin Coleman will remain on the roster despite missing two practices to rest his sprained foot.


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