Claybourn will get kicks

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

Brian Claybourn is the new punter for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers -- for this week, at least.

Even though Claybourn was "released" on Saturday when the team made its final cuts, head coach Doug Berry said he planned all along to have the 24-year-old Indiana native handle the punting duties.

Claybourn was asked to stick around on the practice roster, and it's a good thing he did, because he will make his CFL debut on Friday night in Montreal against the Alouettes.

WASN'T HAPPY

Berry wasn't happy with Troy Westwood's punting during last Thursday's pre-season finale against the Alouettes, and his feelings didn't vary during the last two days of practice.

"There's been no change," said Berry. "It's to the point where you almost want to say, 'Take your ball and go home.' He's had bad practice two days in a row punting the ball."

Westwood, who desperately wanted to do both the punting and placekicking this season, will return to his regular duties of handling field goals and kickoffs.

"Kicking the ball, he's been very effective," said Berry.

Westwood has been a full-time punter only once during his 15-year CFL career, and that was in 2003, when he averaged 41.6 yards.

UNDERDOGS ... AGAIN: You can put Montreal Gazette football reporter Herb Zurkowsky on the list of CFL prognosticators who believe the Bombers won't be a threat this season.

In a story yesterday about the Alouettes putting eight players on the injured list, Zurkowsky wrote: "Fortunately for Montreal, it's only the Winnipeg Blue Bombers it must open the season against. A more formidable opponent might give cause for concern."

Zurkowsky isn't alone in his beliefs, as sports betting website Bowmans.com lists the Bombers as 9 1/2-point underdogs for Friday's season-opener at Molson Stadium.

Among the Alouettes expected to miss Friday's game are CB Davis Sanchez, KR Ezra Landry and DEs R-Kal Truluck and Kai Ellis.

LATE HITS: Bombers RB Henri Childs got some good news Monday: his injured knee won't require surgery. Berry said Childs will miss "a week or two" ... Expect the Bombers to put Childs, LB Joe Tuipala, WR Darryl Ray and OL Dominic Picard on their four-man reserve roster, meaning they will be paid their full salary but won't make the trip to Montreal ... CBC has hired former Bombers Khari Jones and Daved Benefield to work on its football telecasts. Jones will be an occasional sideline reporter, while Benefield will do a weekly feature on the pre-game show called "The Rant."


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