Former Bomber on silver screen

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:48 PM ET

From the Bombers to BattleBots to the big screen, Sean Salisbury always seems to be in the spotlight.

Salisbury is known around these parts as the second last man to quarterback the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to a Grey Cup title.

Now you can also call him "movie star."

The 43-year-old ESPN football analyst and former Bombers quarterback has a prominent role in The Benchwarmers, an Adam Sandler comedy about baseball that opened yesterday in theatres across North America.

"When you see yourself on a trailer at the movie theatre, you're kind of like, 'What? Man, this is amazing!' And it's a pretty significant role," Salisbury said earlier this week from Dallas.

Not too shabby for someone who spent 1988 and '89 slinging footballs for the local 12 at Winnipeg Stadium.

Salisbury won't be remembered as the greatest quarterback in Bombers history, but he did enough to get the job done in his first season, when Winnipeg beat the B.C. Lions 22-21 in Ottawa.

The Bombers started slowly in '88, but "we got hot and rolled right through it," said Salisbury, who completed 12 of 32 attempts for 246 yards and a touchdown in the big game. "... I get so many good memories from that, from the guys on the team. The Chris Walbys of the world and Bob Camerons. I was just fortunate, man.

SEVEN YEARS IN THE NFL

"There were some great, great people on that team."

Salisbury was off to the NFL after the '89 season, and he credits his two years in Winnipeg for making that happen. After spending the next seven years in the NFL, mostly with the Minnesota Vikings, Salisbury got into the communication and entertainment business.

He joined ESPN as a college football sideline reporter in 1997 and then made a lateral move in 2000, becoming the "play-by-play" man for Comedy Central's BattleBots program, on which remote-controlled robots tried to disable one another.

He worked his way up the ESPN ladder and became famous enough to grab Sandler's attention two years ago. The Happy Gilmore star hired Salisbury to be his "quarterback coach" for The Longest Yard remake.

"I went there, and him and I became very good friends," Salisbury said. "He gave me a little cameo in The Longest Yard, and it was a great experience."

Salisbury parlayed that experience into a more prominent role in The Benchwarmers, which also stars David Spade, Jon Lovitz, Rob Schneider and Jon Heder, who is more famously known for playing the lead role in Napoleon Dynamite.

"And it doesn't hurt that Molly Sims is in it," said Salisbury. "Aside from the fact she's a good actress, she's stunningly beautiful to stare at."

Salisbury plays Brad, an "evil coach" of one of the youth baseball teams that plays Spade, Schneider and Heder.

Despite an incident on the set in which he accidentally cut a cameraman's forehead almost to the bone, Salisbury is looking forward to expanding his acting career.

"Sandler's so loyal that they talked to me about another movie in the fall," he said. "If I can mix in one a year or something, I'm OK with that."


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