Really happy to be Blue

Bombers linebacker Barrin Simpson almost signed with the Tiger-Cats in the off-season, but he's...

Bombers linebacker Barrin Simpson almost signed with the Tiger-Cats in the off-season, but he's glad he made the decision to come to Winnipeg instead as the Bombers are off to a 4-2 start and the Ticats are 1-5. (Winnipeg Sun/Marcel Cretain)

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

Were it not for the smooth sales pitch from general manager Brendan Taman and the storied football history in this community, Barrin Simpson might have been an opponent wearing black and yellow this week rather than serving as the linchpin of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defence.

When Simpson left the B.C. Lions and entered CFL free agency in mid-February, it basically boiled down to two teams in the hunt for his services: the Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Fittingly, the two teams meet for the first time this season on Friday at Ivor Wynne Stadium (6 p.m. CJOB, TSN).

"It was just a matter of where I felt most comfortable," Simpson said yesterday after practice at Canad Inns Stadium.

Simpson said Hamilton had a few things going for it as well.

"It's a football city and the talent is there," said Simpson. "It's close to Toronto and my wife is in love with Toronto."

Understandably, Simpson is thrilled with the decision he made to join the Blue and Gold but is still surprised that the Tiger-Cats have come limping out of the gate with a disappointing record.

"You knew it would take a little bit of time to gel but I never thought they'd be 1-5," said Simpson.

Blue Bombers defensive back turned linebacker Stanford Samuels is shocked by the Tiger-Cats' poor start.

"You look at Hamilton's offence man and you wonder how their record is what it is," said Samuels."They have ridiculous talent over there. They have ability, some great receivers and three good backs, two of them are real good backs and they have a brilliant quarterback.

"You wonder what the problem is over there and you know that at any moment, they could break loose and really put up some points. It's a good challenge that you look forward to as a defence."

One player with first-hand knowledge of the struggles in Steeltown, at least last season, is Blue Bombers wideout Chris Brazzell -- who was dealt to Winnipeg on Aug. 9, 2005 for Kamau Peterson.

Brazzell, whose tirade in the media helped lead to his departure, chose his words carefully yesterday when asked about facing his former team.

"It's just another football team," said Brazzell. "What I will say to them is, 'thank you'. That's all I have to say about that. Thank you, very very much. I ain't got nothing to say about them directly."

Obviously, Brazzell is thankful he went from being considered by some as an overpaid underachiever with the Tiger-Cats to a deep threat and pertinent part of the Blue Bombers offence.

Brazzell didn't bite his tongue when the subject of recently fired Greg Marshall was brought up.

"It didn't surprise me one bit, not one bit," said Brazzell, who didn't really elaborate on why he felt Marshall would be removed of his duties.

One thing Brazzell was more than happy to talk about was the strong 4-2 start the Blue Bombers got off to.

"We're in a good position right now, we've only lost to Montreal," he said.

"Now we start playing the other teams in the league and we'll be able to figure out what type of team we are. It's on from here on out, I guess. As soon as we play these next six games, we'll really see how good we are."

Blue Bombers head coach Doug Berry believes the Tiger-Cats are a "good football team" and expects another stiff test.

"I don't even think about their record," said Berry. "I see who they are and how good they potentially can be."


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