It's about titles now

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

Charles Roberts continues to entertain fans, torment opponents and please his coaches.

Yet the Winnipeg Blue Bombers continue their five-year slide down the CFL mountain.

It's enough to mess with Blink's head, because he's been in Winnipeg for those same five years.

"I've still been coming up with the yards, but we haven't been coming up with the wins like we did the first two years after I took over the starting tailback spot," the 5-foot-6, 171-pound running back said yesterday. "We were a very successful, playoff-bound team those two years, and ever since then it's gotten a little worse.

"I'm happy with the way I'm playing. It's just not getting us wins right now. And you start wondering: Well, maybe they need to do something else with the offence."

The Bombers were 14-4 and lost the Grey Cup in Roberts' rookie season of 2001, when he shared the ball carrying duties with Eric Blount and Troy Mills.

Impressive

He became the primary tailback in 2002 and put up impressive numbers, but the Bombers won two fewer games.

Roberts was the team's Most Outstanding Player nominee in 2003 and 2004, but the team posted records of 11-7 and 7-11, respectively.

This year Roberts is on pace to win his second CFL rushing title, but the Blue and Gold, currently sitting at 4-9 with a road date in Montreal this Sunday, are destined to miss the playoffs with their worst record since 1999.

"I don't want my individual success to hamper the team, if that's what it's doing," Roberts said. "I don't think that's what it's doing, but at times when you're searching for reasons why you're losing and why the offence may be staggering at times, I don't think you're a very good player if you don't question it.

"Just because you're playing well and putting up numbers doesn't mean you're helping the team. Seriously!"

Not a problem

Let's nip this in the bud right now. Roberts, who already has a career-high nine rushing touchdowns this season, is not a problem. His coaches have never been happier with his play.

The real question is: How frustrated is he?

"Two or three years ago, probably if I was having the season I'm having right now and we were losing, maybe I wouldn't have cared," Roberts admitted. "Maybe I just wanted to have an all-star season. But now, as you're getting older, wins become -- along with individual success -- a major point, because when you're young you don't realize that wins and playoffs and championships are really what determine what type of player you were.

"Those things matter to you more. I put up the numbers already."

What's this? Charles Roberts sounding like Milt Stegall? Times sure have changed.

In fact, Roberts won't be happy until the Bombers hoist the Grey Cup, regardless of how many rushing titles he wins.

"You want to win. You want a championship. You want an opportunity to play for a championship," Roberts said. "You feel like a loser when you don't make the playoffs."


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