NFL stress tires Walls

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

The CFL's top rookie sounds like he is ready to return to Winnipeg.

Blue Bombers defensive end Gavin Walls seems to have soured on his pursuit of landing an NFL contract this winter.

"Everything started to slow up the last two weeks," Walls said from Fayetteville, Ark., yesterday. "And there is a possibility I may end up back there."

Walls added that his agent, Ray Savage, is currently negotiating with Winnipeg GM Brendan Taman and he was waiting to hear from Savage. Walls, who was named the CFL 2005 Most Outstanding Rookie, has worked out for both the New York Jets and Jacksonville but a couple of other NFL teams decided against working him out for now.

"I'm just kind of toying around with it but I don't have a whole lot of time," said Walls, who just turned 26. "If Brendan gives me a fair enough deal, I'll be back up there.

"I'm tired of stressing over it. I want to build on what I started up there."

Although that pleased Taman, he said he would await the Feb. 15 deadline, when the NFL window closes, and a new agreement was in place before he would start celebrating.

"I hope he's back," said Taman, who had lengthy discussions with Savage last week. "That'd be great. But I'll wait until the 15th to see the lay of the land."

The 6-foot-2, 235-pound import would prefer a two-year contract to return.

"I'm ready to get something done," Walls said.

Savage could not be reached for comment.

The Bombers are still in danger of losing both starting defensive ends -- Tom Canada becomes a free agent on Feb. 15. Taman has had some talks with Canada's agent. Canada has also been checking out NFL opportunities.

CONTRACT CONFUSION: Some confusion has reigned over whether punter Jon Ryan, officially under contract to the Blue Bombers until Feb. 15, could actually sign an NFL pact with the Green Bay Packers before mid-February. Turns out that he can.

"It's the same thing as the option-year guys now," Taman said, adding that the CFL wanted the NFL window for players going into their option year to end the same day that CFL players become free agents. However, that does not mean the NFL can now raid CFL players still under contract during the regular season, Taman said.

Ryan reportedly agreed to a three-year deal for the NFL minimum $241,000 US, with a $25,000 signing bonus.

"When you're 10, 11 or 12 living in Regina, you don't even realize the NFL is bigger than the CFL," Ryan told the Regina Leader-Post. "The Roughriders are No. 1 and that's pretty much the top and as far as you can go in the world. Growing up, it was totally my dream to play in the CFL and play with the 'Riders. You don't ever really think beyond that."

Ryan, 24, has already been approached for tickets -- and he has not even made the team yet.

QB CONCERNS: Taman confirmed that he has been approached about the availability of one of his QBs, believed to be Spergon Wynn. "But those talks haven't progressed," he said ... Meanwhile, negotiations with incumbent QB Kevin Glenn, who wants a raise, have become a priority.


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