Touted receiver axed

Wane McGarity, who arrived from Calgary as a marquee player, has failed to shine in six games with...

Wane McGarity, who arrived from Calgary as a marquee player, has failed to shine in six games with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. (Winnipeg Sun File/John Woods)

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:43 AM ET

They took that high-profile name off their marquee in surprisingly short order yesterday.

Just six games into the 2005 CFL season, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers cut loose import receiver Wane McGarity, getting nothing in return for the much sought-after free agent last winter. The former Calgary Stampeder had been signed with much fanfare when club GM Brendan Taman inked him to a lucrative pact.

"We had a lot of high hopes for him," Taman admitted. "It's disappointing, no doubt. Obviously, we didn't foresee this when we signed him. He just didn't seem to settle in, for some reason."

McGarity arrived here with a reputation for making the big play but for also bobbling a lot of balls. He caught only 14 passes for 123 yards, with the longest being 31, but also dropped too many. The final straw came when he caught only three passes for 16 yards against Toronto and fumbled the ball away at a critical time.

'DIFFERENT DIRECTION'

"We're going in a little different direction at the receiver spot and we certainly wish him luck," said Bombers head coach Jim Daley. "We're sure someone will have an interest in him, he's been a fine receiver. But it just hasn't worked out here to the degree we had anticipated or needed."

Jamie Stoddard, a Canadian, will start at slotback against the Stampeders in Calgary this Saturday and the Bombers have added import wide receiver Darnell McDonald, another ex-Stamp, to their practice roster.

"We are still evolving as a receiving corps, which I don't like to be in at this stage of the year, but we are," Daley said. "That's part of being in a rebuilding year."

McGarity did not return messages left on his cellphone.

Although McGarity had been making about $90,000 per annum, most of that was paid up front so the Bombers will not save that much cash, Taman said. Although Taman admitted that the Bombers did try to trade McGarity, he would not get into particulars. There is some speculation that Winnipeg had offered McGarity to Montreal for import defensive back Almondo Curry.

SEND A MESSAGE

Although Daley denied making the move to send a message to his 1-5 team, the remaining players did hear the statement.

"It's a tough situation and it's a shame when you lose a friend like Wane," said wide receiver Kamau Peterson. "Obviously, they aren't happy with our production or with what we're doing. So if they look to make changes like that, I don't know how that can be construed as anything but a message. We've got to pick it up collectively as a unit and our unit in particular."

Peterson then dropped two catchable passes in practice.

"That's a little surprising," Stoddard said of McGarity's release. "I didn't think something like that would be coming. But with the way things go in this league, nothing should really surprise you. I've seen some crazier things happen. Wane's a good guy, a good friend and I really enjoyed playing with him. I wish him the best."

But he will benefit from the move, at least this week.

"It gives me the opportunity to get on the field more often and any time you can do that, it's great," Stoddard said. "I just want to be able to go out there and help give this team the best chance to win."


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