Passport to the CFL

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

Dante Booker was in Dubuque, Iowa, on Wednesday morning, and he was about to drill a nail into a wall when his cellphone rang.

It was Winnipeg Blue Bombers GM Brendan Taman.

"I just put down my drill and told my boss I had to go," said Booker. "... Luckily something told me to bring my passport. For some reason I had my passport with me, so I just left from there and came up.

"I was just about to drill up some blinds on a window."

Booker will be asked to drill some Montreal Alouettes tomorrow night at Canad Inns Stadium, as he will start at defensive tackle for the Bombers in an early-season showdown for first place in the CFL's East Division.

The Bombers cut Booker at the end of training camp, so the 29-year-old took a construction job with a company in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. His 10-year-old son, Dante Jr., was happy to have dad at home.

However, when Ron Warner and Cam Legault got hurt in Winnipeg's 24-17 win over the Toronto Argonauts last weekend, the Bombers needed defensive tackle help -- pronto.

They tried ex-B.C. Lion Frank Ferrara, but he left on Wednesday morning after spending only 24 hours with the team. So Taman called Booker, another former Lion who was more than happy to oblige.

"I didn't even know what their motives are, because the way the game is you just never know what their motives are," said Booker. "But I figure I come up here, have some fun and what happens, happens."

Bombers head coach Doug Berry said cutting Booker at the end of training camp was a tough decision, as Booker had given Warner a run for his money. Booker thought the team would at least ask him to stick around on the practice roster.

"I was upset when they let me go," he said. "I was surprised, and I didn't really understand why I wouldn't stick around so I'd be ready for this point 100% instead of ... who knows. But that's the way it goes, man.

"I'm more than happy to come back and contribute. It's a great team and a great opportunity. I get a chance to hit some more people, and I'm always ready for that. No hard feelings."

The 6-foot 2, 295-pound Booker will come off the field in 3-4 defensive sets tomorrow night, but when he's in there he'll be asked to help the Bombers (3-1) beat the undefeated Alouettes (3-0) in an early-season showdown for first place in the East.

"The best team in the league," said Booker.

"I played them twice in the pre-season, so that's all I've seen this year. It should be fun."


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