Westwood keen on Ryan's chances

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 6:37 PM ET

Regardless of what it means about his own situation with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Troy Westwood is thrilled for his former kicking partner.

The longtime Bomber place-kicker was ecstatic to see punter Jon Ryan, who set a CFL yardage record (50.6 yards per kick) with the Blue and Gold last season, sign a contract with the NFL's Green Bay Packers.

"I think it's just awesome," Westwood said. "I think he's going to play down there for 10 years. What better place for a Prairie boy to play than -- as (ESPN's) Chris Berman would say -- the frozen tundra."

As of right now, Westwood is slated to return to handling both the placekicking and punting duties in 2006. However, he is expected to be challenged for the position(s). The Bombers are rumoured to be interested in Saskatchewan's Paul McCallum, a free agent who handled both duties in Regina the last few years.

CAPABLE

Westwood himself once tried out unsuccessfully for a few NFL teams and knows just how good Ryan has had to be to get this far.

"Anyone who watched him play this year knows he has the ability," Westwood said. "He's capable of doing it all ... pooch kicks, going for the corners, hang time. I think he's going to be great."

The departure of Ryan, a 24-year-old from Regina, is a blow to the Bombers but far from an unexpected one.

"That's just the way the business works," said Bombers general manager Brenda Taman. "You hope to have him as long as you can. At least we won't have to play against him."

Taman figures Ryan is a great bet to make the Packers. If not, he will surely be one of their last cuts. That means the earliest he would return to the CFL is September, and even then, he would be a CFL free agent.

TRADE TALKS: Taman confirmed that he has had trade discussions with Toronto Argonauts general manager Adam Rita.

"They made it known that they want a quarterback, and we have four," Taman said. "We don't have anything close yet, but we agreed to keep talking."

The Bombers have incumbent starter Kevin Glenn, backup Russ Michna and third-stringers Tee Martin and Spergon Wynn under contract.

Wynn and Martin are believed to be available.

The Argos are also talking to the Saskatchewan Roughriders about former starter Nealon Greene.

The Argos are fine with starter with Damon Allen, but the backup position is uncertain. Michael Bishop is in the Arena League with Chicago, and it's unlikely he'll be back in Toronto. The team believes third-stringer Charlie Peterson needs more seasoning.


Videos

Photos