Bomber hunt heats up

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will make their pitch to free agent safety Richard Karikari today.

Karikari, a non-import who was second in the CFL with nine interceptions last season while playing in Montreal, was exploring all NFL possibilities before turning his attention north of the border and is now ready to listen to offers.

He promised to give the Alouettes first crack at re-signing him, but the Bombers want his services badly and might try to pry him loose with substantial money.

"I just talked to his agent and told him we'd make our offer (today)," Bombers GM Brendan Taman said from Tampa, Fla., where he is attending NFL Europe training camp.

CHANGE OF HEART: Bashir Levingston has decided to stay with the Toronto Argonauts after all.

The electrifying kick returner, who balked at a pay cut for more than a month, has decided to accept a restructured contract offer from the Argos and is now willing to stay in Toronto for less pay.

He was scheduled to make $125,000 this season, including a $20,000 bonus which kicks in today. He asked for a trade or to be released after the Argos signed free-agent kick returner Keith Stokes away from the Bombers last week.

Take a pay cut

Winnipeg and several other teams expressed interest in trading for Levingston, but the team concentrated on convincing him to take a pay cut and appears to have been successful.

"I'd love to be back," he told Sun Media Monday. "(Toronto's) my home away from home. I've got a lot of great memories and moments."

The Bombers talked about a trade for Levingston, but only would have agreed to the deal if the player accepted a pay cut and the Argos agreed to eat part of his salary.

AROUND THE CFL: Former Bombers offensive lineman Dave Mudge has signed a two-year-plus-option contract extension with the Montreal Alouettes. Mudge was acquired from the Bombers for OL Aaron Fiacconi and future considerations last July ... The Montreal Gazette is reporting that non-import defensive back Davis Sanchez failed his physical and a recent trade with the Edmonton Eskimos could be nullified as a result. Sanchez, who tore his groin last October while with the Eskimos, was acquired for import DB Reggie Durden and import DT Robert Brown last month ... Speculation in Saskatchewan is receiver Elijah Thurmon may have overestimated his value on the open market, which is why he has not been signed as a free agent to this point ... The Ottawa Renegades have signed WR Sean Riley, a veteran of six Arena Football League seasons ... Even though they signed placekicker-punter Paul McCallum, the B.C. Lions aren't ready to cut bait on PK/P Duncan O'Mahony, who may be given a chance to handle punting chores exclusively.


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