'Rookie' QB wants top spot

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:03 AM ET

Mike Quinn was sitting in a booth at a Canad Inns Polo Park restaurant yesterday afternoon, having lunch with his old NFL teammate, Albert Johnson III, and reflecting on his first day of "rookie" camp with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

"Day 1 was not as sharp as I think we would've liked it, but it's Day 1 for a reason," said Quinn. "The biggest thing to be said is it's something to build on."

HARDLY QUALIFIES

Quinn hardly qualifies as a rookie, considering he's a 32-year-old quarterback with eight years of backup experience in the NFL, but the CFL is brand new to the Texas native, save for an eight-day stint with the Montreal Alouettes last season.

It was during his time in La Belle Province that Quinn impressed the heck out of Alouettes offensive co-ordinator Doug Berry, who just so happens to be the Bombers new head coach this season.

Quinn's presence in Winnipeg is not a coincidence, folks.

"I just remember that in one week he was leading a no-huddle offence up and down the field and being able to call and execute from that aspect," said Berry. "I thought he was an intelligent quarterback with good mechanics and obviously had enough talent."

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Quinn left Montreal after only a week because he obviously wasn't going to play behind Anthony Calvillo and he'd had enough of being a third-stringer in the NFL.

The reason he's in Winnipeg is because Berry told him that everyone -- and he means everyone -- is going to have to win a starting job under his watch.

"He said there's not really a depth chart, that everybody's going to get an opportunity and it's basically going to play out that way," said Quinn, who was the third-stringer behind Kordell Stewart in Pittsburgh and Troy Aikman in Dallas. "I think he said that about every position on the field, that nobody's guaranteed a starting spot.

"You can't ask for more than that as a player. You really can't."

Winnipeg's starter last season, Kevin Glenn, might beg to differ about the depth chart, but it sounds like he's going to have to stand out if he's going to hold on to his No. 1 spot.

The other two quarterbacks in camp are Russ Michna, who was Glenn's backup last year, and Brad Banks, who was scooped up in the Ottawa Renegades dispersal draft.

It's hard to picture the Bombers letting go of Glenn or Banks, so it looks like Quinn and Michna will be battling for the third pivot position.

Michna was the only other quarterback on the field yesterday. Banks was in town, but he was taking care of some personal business. Berry expects him to participate in today's workout.

Glenn, meanwhile, is expected to arrive in town tonight.

Quinn threw only three passes during his NFL stint, so his hunger to earn a starting job has never been stronger.

"That's what I'm trying to do. I didn't come up here to be a third-string quarterback like I was in the NFL and not play any games," he said. "I'm sure the other quarterbacks feel the same way.

"They didn't come up here to sit on the bench, either. They want to play, too, so it'll be a good competition."


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