Bombers sign ex-Viking

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 3:12 PM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers upgraded their running back position today with the signing of suspended NFLer Onterrio Smith.

The former Minnesota Viking will arrive in Winnipeg on Tuesday for the start of the team’s rookie camp, which starts Wednesday.

The NFL has suspended Smith, 25, three times for violating the league’s substance abuse policy through the use of marijuana. He was banned from the 2005 season and is currently suspended until at least October, so the Bombers are giving him a chance to revive his career north of the border.

Winnipeg’s courting of Smith caused team’s No. 1 tailback, four-time all-star Charles Roberts, to request a trade. Bomber president and CEO Lyle Bauer said on Wednesday that Roberts has not asked the team for a trade.

Bomber GM Brendan Taman said Smith will be used in a relatively limited role compared to Roberts.

“Onterrio Smith is an exciting, dynamic player who will add a lot to this team,” said Taman in a press release. “In addition to his outstanding skills as a running back, he is an outstanding kick returner and receiver.

“We believe his presence will provide Charles Roberts even more opportunities to show what he can do on offence.”

Smith, a 5-foot-10, 215-pound California native, appeared in 27 games for the Vikings in 2003 and 2004, rushing for 1,123 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Vikings released Smith last month to let him pursue other football opportunities while suspended by the NFL.

Read more in tomorrow's Winnipeg Sun.


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