Blue bring in bad boy

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:03 AM ET

Winnipeg has decided to gamble on a proven trouble-maker.

The Blue Bombers officially claimed import wide receiver Robert (Shake 'n' Bake) Baker off CFL waivers from the Toronto Argonauts yesterday.

Baker's list of indiscretions includes run-ins with his own teammates and Argos head coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons finally tired of his antics after he missed a team meeting in Montreal.

"I'm not worried about that, I'm more worried about our quarterbacks," Bombers GM Brendan Taman said from Baltimore yesterday. "If he can't control himself here, he'll be gone.

"But Baker can play and I love the way he plays the game. I don't care if he even catches the ball, but he plays with a defensive mentality on the offensive side of the ball and that's something we've been lacking here. He's a great blocker. And he also HATES to lose and I just love that."

The 6-foot, 208-pound Auburn product has recorded 1,000 yards receiving each of the last two seasons and is capable of playing tight end.

During college, Baker and three teammates were convicted of trafficking cocaine but after an early release, he was with the Miami Dolphins for five years before signing with Toronto as a free agent in 2004.

Baker, 30, is expected to be in Winnipeg for the team's first practice after a bye week a week from tomorrow.

"I've spoken with Robert, I didn't get into any of his prior situations," said Bomber head coach Doug Berry. "I wanted to find out, No. 1, if he would have a sincere interest in coming here and he has indicated that he would. It was a short conversation but in that conversation, the most important thing to him was winning and he believes that we're doing a good job here. He thinks we've got a great opportunity to win and he'd like to be a part of it."

A message was sent to the other Bomber receivers with that move.

"Hopefully, we'll get some guys here who can take some of the stress off Milt (Stegall) and take some of the stress off the quarterback," Berry said. "Robert Baker fits the mould of receiver that I'm looking for right now -- somebody that's physical, somebody that plays very aggressive football and possibly someone we can control within the structure of the things that we do here.

"He brings the big-play possibility and the physicality that we need to be showing on the offensive side of the ball."

Baker was unavailable for comment.

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BAKER'S RAP SHEET

A quick rundown of some of the CFL transgressions of new Blue Bombers receiver Robert Baker:

- Aug. 3, 2006 -- Baker was benched for the first half of the Argos' 31-7 loss to the Montreal Alouettes as a disciplinary measure by head coach Michael (Pinball) Clemons.

- June 2, 2006 -- Baker pushed a cameraman during the Argos' pre-season contest against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at the Rogers Centre. He was fined by the CFL for the incident.

- Sept. 5, 2005 -- Baker pushed away a fan, who laid his hands on him during a post-game interview at Hamilton's Ivor Wynne Stadium.

- July 1, 2005 -- Baker allegedly was spat upon by Calgary Stampeders defensive lineman Rahim Abdullah. An irate Baker was pulled off the field by the Argos coaching staff in an attempt to calm him down, when teammate Noel Prefontaine approached him and said something, Baker punched him. The Argos suspended Baker for one game.

- Nov. 3, 2004 -- Baker and defensive back Chuck Winters scrapped in two separate dustups during passing drills. Teammates intervened after the second brouhaha.

- Oct. 11, 2004 -- Baker was in a confrontation with a reporter.


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