Taman is the man

Blue Bombers GM Brendan Taman signed a contract extension on Monday to remain in Winnipeg until at...

Blue Bombers GM Brendan Taman signed a contract extension on Monday to remain in Winnipeg until at least the end of 2008. (Winnipeg Sun File/Marcel Cretain)

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

Brendan Taman admits he was taken aback last week when Lyle Bauer came to him about a contract extension.

"I was actually quite surprised, to be honest with you, but I was glad," said Taman.

"... I hadn't brought it up at all. I wasn't in any position to do that."

After a few days of quick negotiations, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers general manager signed an extension yesterday that is expected to keep him on Maroons Road until at least the end of 2008.

Taman, who is in his eighth season in Winnipeg and third as GM, had to have been more than a little concerned about his job safety at the end of last season, a dismal campaign in which the Bombers went 5-13.

In fact, when he fired Jim Daley on Nov. 8, Taman said his next hiring of a head coach could be his last.

So he made it count, hiring Doug Berry away from the Montreal Alouettes. After a 3-1 start to the season, it looks like Berry was a solid choice.

"It's probably the best move I've made since I've been here," said Taman.

While it appears that the team's hot start got Taman an extension just months after his job appeared to be in jeopardy, Bauer, the team's president and CEO, said the board of governors' decision was based on more than just the last four games.

DESERVES CREDIT

"Brendan deserves credit for many of the things that have gone on during the off-season and in other years," said Bauer. "It's not just all encompassed in the last four games, but it certainly doesn't hurt the case."

Taman has shown a knack for tracking down talent, whether it's through trades or free-agent signings.

Some of the players the Saskatoon native gets credit for bringing to Winnipeg during his tenure are Charles Roberts, Juran Bolden, Brian Clark, Mike Sellers, Gavin Walls, Kevin Glenn, Jamie Stoddard, Khari Jones, Ricky Bell, Doug Brown and Dave Mudge.

Taman added Barrin Simpson, Ron Warner, Kelly Malveaux, Albert Johnson III, Obby Khan and Val St. Germain to that list this past off-season, and it's paying off.

Taman, who is always frank and honest with the media, realizes that the Bombers must keep it up if he's going to fulfil his new deal, however.

"(The extension) was obviously a result of how we started the year, but we've got a long way to go," said Taman. "But it's nice to have support from the board and Lyle to keep going along with my job. That's always nice.

"... Grey Cup is where it's at. We just gotta put ourselves in the position to do that."

Bauer said the reason the extension was offered so quickly was because Taman is entering the most important time of his season.

"That position has future ramifications, because you're now going into NFL camps, neg listings and things along those lines," said Bauer.

"And if you have somebody in a short-term arrangement dealing with your long-term future ... I don't know if that's the wisest way to run a business."

Taman has no problem with that kind of thinking.

"If you're sitting in the middle of August or September and you're wondering if you have a job and you're in NFL camps going, 'Well, this guy would be good here next year ... am I going to be here next year?' " said Taman.

"So, yeah, it goes through your mind, but I was going to do my job until they told me not to do it."

Near the end of yesterday's media scrum, Taman was already looking ahead -- specifically to Saturday's first-place battle at home against the Alouettes.

"It's all about winning," he said. "Right now my mind isn't on my contract; it's on how we're going to play Montreal.

"We gotta get some guys in here to replace a couple injured guys, which is my main goal right now."


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