Bombers turn back clock

Ron Warner played nine games with the Bombers in 2000 before heading to the NFL. (Winnipeg...

Ron Warner played nine games with the Bombers in 2000 before heading to the NFL. (Winnipeg Sun/Marcel Cretain)

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

For the second time this off-season, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have brought back a blast from the past.

The Bombers yesterday signed 30-year-old defensive end Ron Warner, who played only nine games with the Blue and Gold in 2000 but made a great impression.

"I'm coming back to the 'Peg," a jubilant Warner said last night from his home in Texas. "... I want to be a part of something."

Warner's signing comes 2 1/2 months after the team brought back receiver-returner Albert Johnson III, who also starred during the 2000 campaign.

Warner tore a biceps muscle in his first CFL game on July 5, 2000, and had surgery to repair it, but he missed only nine games.

He finished strong and concluded the season with six sacks, 19 tackles, two tackles for losses and one pass knockdown.

That was enough for the NFL to take notice, and Warner was gone. His best season down south was in 2004, when he appeared in 14 games with the Washington Redskins and recorded 3 1/2 sacks.

The 6-foot-3, 275-pound Warner didn't play last season and didn't find any takers this winter, so Bombers GM Brendan Taman didn't flinch when the opportunity to bring him back arose.

"He's a hell of a player -- a fierce, fiery, competitive guy," Taman said. "He's not going to take any prisoners, that's for sure. He plays hard at all times."

Warner's arrival could create an interesting dilemma for the Bombers coaching staff, considering Tom Canada and Gavin Walls, whose best years are ahead of them, already occupy the two end positions.

Warner said he has seen film of Canada, and he said he could see Canada playing on the right side and himself playing on the left.

Walls might have something to say about that, but Warner said he has a good "five or six" years of consistent football left in him.

"Brendan wouldn't be bringing me back to sit on no bench," Warner said. "I'm ready to bring the Grey Cup back to the 'Peg."

Taman said it's better to have too many players than too few.

"I'll sleep a lot better at night knowing we have those three rather than none of them," Taman said.

"... I didn't sign him to trade people. I signed him to better our team. But if a trade comes along the line and we can better our team with other people, then yeah.

"But it's not trade bait."

KARIKARI WATCH: Taman said last night that he hadn't heard anything from free-agent safety Richard Karikari, whom the Bombers are pursuing.

However, Taman did speak with Karikari's agent at least three times yesterday.

"We're not changing our numbers," Taman said. "We're just restructuring them."

It's believed the Bombers are offering Karikari $130,000 a season. Taman heard through the grapevine that the Montreal Alouettes, with whom Karikari played the last three seasons, offered more.

Yet they're still talking.

"That's a good sign," Taman said. "If he's going to go to Montreal, I don't know why he's talking to me so much."


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