DB answers SOS from Blue

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:05 AM ET

Kill the fatted pigskin, the prodigal DB has returned.

Five weeks after leaving the Blue Bombers in a huff, import defensive back Justin Coleman was back at practice yesterday.

And he will start against the Calgary Stampeders when they come to Winnipeg on Sunday, most likely at cornerback.

The Bombers sent an SOS to Coleman after import DB Stanford Samuels (knee) pulled up lame just before Wednesday's practice. Coleman hopped a plane, arrived in Winnipeg at 6:30 a.m. and made it to the 10:45 a.m. practice.

"I was just given an opportunity to come back and play and I told them, why not?" Coleman said. "I was just sitting at home training, basically. Actually, while I was at home, I began to miss being here, just playing football in general. So, I figured this gave me the opportunity to get back up here and finish what I started to do when I came here.

'Time to think

"Most importantly, I missed being in the atmosphere with the guys. You never really realize how important it is to you until you're actually gone. It just gave me time to think."

Coleman, who just turned 27 this week, had refused a demotion to the practice roster and quit the team in frustration last month.

"It was mainly because I just wasn't playing," explained Coleman, who picked off three passes despite playing on a sprained foot and with sore ribs. "I came here to help this team win and when I did play, I felt I gave the team the best of my abilities to give the team the opportunity to win.

"I had played hurt (ribs, foot) the whole time and honestly, when I left, I was still hurting. I was like, 'Hell, I was playing hurt this long, why not now?' They wanted to see some other things, for whatever reason, and it's a business, I understand that."

Although Coleman had quit the club, head coach Jim Daley welcomed him back with open arms.

'Understandable'

"When a player isn't playing, his frustration is understandable," he said. "So, that isn't something that upsets me -- that he did not stay on the practice roster. We would love to have had him stay but we understand when a man doesn't.

"We appreciate him coming back on short notice and joining us."

William Fields will likely move from corner to inside to allow Coleman to play corner.

"Whatever is easiest because Justin's missed a month," Daley said.

Between games that Coleman did play earlier this season, he could barely walk on his sprained foot.

"I ain't gonna say it's 100% but I feel pretty good, considering where I was when I left," he said.. "The time off gave me opportunity to heal."

It also gave him time to spend with his son. As for opportunities elsewhere, Coleman did not even try and fielded few calls himself. But he would be willing to come to next year's training camp, if invited.

"I'm just gonna play this game out, play to the best of my ability to help this team win and go from there," he said. "I will meet with them before I make a decision and I wouldn't mind coming back here. Only time will tell."


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