Blue like Ike at SAM

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

Stanford Samuels did not want to dance to 'The Charlton' again.

Kelly Malveaux is happy to sit the next one out.

Both have replaced Winnipeg's Ike Charlton at essentially a new position for the Blue Bombers -- a converted defensive back playing outside linebacker or, in coach-speak, the SAM.

Charlton will return from a pulled quad after a two-game absence when the Bombers play against the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton this Sunday, and both Samuels and Malveaux welcomed him back with open arms.

Although Samuels had replaced Charlton earlier this season, he did not volunteer for the job when it came up again.

"I was banged up enough," said the 5-foot-10, 192-pound cornerback. "I decided to let (Malveaux) go in there and bang with those big guys. I knew Kelly would be a good fit to play that SAM as well. But I'm just glad to have (Charlton) back out where he's supposed to be."

Although he filled in admirably, Malveaux did not put up a fight when Charlton returned to his normal position at practice this week.

"No, no, no, that's his position," Malveaux protested. "It was a good experience for me to see I could do another thing in the CFL and help our defence. But, uh, halfback is my position.

"I was closer to the box, getting a little action. I never shied away from hitting anything so, that was good. But, uh, I get paid to cover and that's what I need to do. I make my money from covering and keeping receivers to a minimum."

Charlton, 29, laughed knowingly.

"The SAM is tough, man," said the ex-NFLer. "You've got to do too much, man. You've got to do a lot of things but we've got a lot of guys who are capable of doing it, too. But I'm ready to go and I'm definitely looking forward to this week. I've been out the last three weeks so, I'm going to be like a crazed man out there."

When Charlton first took to the position, he was wary of the heavier going being so much closer to opposing offensive lines.

"Actually, I'm not banged up, which has surprised me," said the 6-foot Virginia Tech grad.

"I expected to be banged up and hurting here but actually, I feel good. Earlier, I got hit in the ribs and got bruised ribs and I sat that game out. But that was by a running back, not a lineman who hit me.

"I'm having fun in there. Right now, I'm up about 208 (from 202) so weight-wise, I'm cool. I just have to manoeuvre and beat them with speed -- especially this week, they've (Ticats) got a good offensive line. So, I've got to use that against them, them being too aggressive coming out to get the smaller guys as opposed to the bigger linebacker that they can reach. I've just got to use that to my advantage and that's what I've been doing all year."

Getting Charlton back in the dance means the rest of his partners can return to their more comfortable stations.

"These are the positions they've played for most of the season and it's how guys interact with each other," said Winnipeg head coach Doug Berry.

"This gives us the structure to be able to go back to that."


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