Karikari loss stings Blue

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:43 AM ET

Richard Karikari still hasn't made a decision, but Brendan Taman knows in his heart of hearts what the answer is going to be.

"They either want to be with you or they don't, and obviously he doesn't seem to want to be with us," Taman said yesterday. "At least that's the indication I'm getting.

"I'm presuming he's gone."

Actually, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers GM never had Karikari, a CFL free-agent safety who appears likely to re-sign with the Montreal Alouettes, but that doesn't mean the situation doesn't sting.

Taman said Karikari had basically agreed to a deal with the Bombers on Wednesday afternoon, but he quickly changed his mind and re-opened talks with the Alouettes.

Forge ahead

When reached by the Sun yesterday, Karikari said there was no news to report.

The non-import makes much quicker decisions on the football field, as demonstrated by his nine interceptions last season, but Taman is prepared to forge ahead without him.

"We can still win a Grey Cup without him, but he would've been a nice addition, there's no question about that," Taman said. "He's not the difference maker that Barrin (Simpson) could be, but he is a good player."

The Bombers have four non-import safeties under contract -- Shawn Gallant, John Sullivan, Mike Crumb and Ian Logan -- but Taman isn't ruling out going after an American to compete for the spot.

Looking at the big picture, Taman is happy to have landed Simpson, the former B.C. Lions linebacker who was deemed one of only four elite free agents on the market this winter.

"That was our goal. We're happy," Taman said. "To get one of the four was our goal. To get two would have been a bonus, and we came close to doing that. But it doesn't look like that will happen.

"But, realistically, we got Barrin Simpson, and we're pretty happy about that."

Taman said he is unlikely to pursue free-agent offensive lineman Bobby Singh (B.C.), but he probably will call the agent for free-agent receiver Elijah Thurmon (Saskatchewan) to talk numbers.

And if, by some miracle, Karikari changes his mind and signs with the Bombers, Taman will welcome him with open arms.

"A deal's never done until it's done, and I've learned that over the course of time," Taman said. "I was led to believe that we were pretty close to having a deal done, but I was anxiously awaiting some paperwork that I never got, and life goes on."


Videos

Photos