Blink wants the ball after Esk's comment

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:30 AM ET

Them's fightin' words.

Winnipeg tailback Charles (Blink) Roberts rushed for only 76 yards on 21 rushes in two regular CFL games versus the Eskimos last season. And Edmonton middle linebacker A.J. Gass suggested that kicking sand in his face early in the game turns Roberts chicken.

"If you hit him hard, hit him often, he tends to not want the ball as much after a couple of hits," Gass told the Edmonton Journal on the eve of tonight's match versus the Blue Bombers here.

"I heard that, man, and that's crazy for A.J. to say that because I have rushed for 100 yards against them on more than one occasion, and scored touchdowns on them," an incredulous Roberts responded yesterday. "I've done a lot of things against Edmonton. They may not be the team I've done the best against but I have done some good things against Edmonton.

GM CHARLIE

"I don't know why he would say that but I can always say he might look to me as the GM (today) because I'm about to get him cut."

That, of course, means that Roberts plans to embarrass Gass tonight, that is, if he even gets into the game at linebacker.

Roberts, however, did admit to having his troubles racking up real estate against the Eskies.

"They've always had a real tough, grimy defence -- good defensive ends -- and when teams have good defensive ends, that kind of limits me because I can't get to the outside like I want to," he analyzed. "They've got good linebackers there usually.

"I really don't know what it is. No. 1, we've got to play one game a year up there on that grass and that's the worst playing field in the league right now."

That is where the 5-foot-6, 170-pounder, a cut-back runner, usually suffers most. But despite his size, the CFL's reigning rushing champ has been perhaps the most durable tailback in the league since he first arrived in Winnipeg back in 2001. He has missed only one game due to injury over that timeframe.

Roberts, meanwhile, rushed for 133 yards on 32 carries against Toronto last week.

"Over the course of my career, it's been hard for back-to-back 100 yards to come," he said. "I don't know if defences key more on me after rushing for 100 yards the week before but I'm going to go out and try to run the ball and I do believe I'll be able to pick up 100 yards (tonight)."

NOTE: As of late yesterday afternoon, the Bombers had only sold about 22,200 tickets to today's game.


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