Bean's a ball hawk

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

Go ahead and test Robert Bean, but be warned: He's been tested by the best.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers cornerback was a rookie with the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals in 2000 when three veteran corners got hurt at the same time.

That forced Bean to make his first NFL start against Drew Bledsoe and the New England Patriots on Nov. 19, 2000.

Bean drew the tough assignment of covering Terry Glenn, who caught 11 passes for 129 yards that day, but he also intercepted a Bledsoe pass that was intended for Tony Simmons, currently an injured member of the B.C. Lions.

"I knew they were going to try me," Bean recalled yesterday. "They're going to throw it deep at least once or twice or three times. They're going to try it, so be ready. Be in the right spot at that right time."

Bean was in the right spot at the right time during his CFL debut in July, too, as he picked off Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray in his first CFL start.

Bean has since tacked on two more interceptions, and he will get a chance to add to his total tomorrow night when he starts for the injured Stanford Samuels against the Calgary Stampeders at Canad Inns Stadium.

Despite his fine play this season, Bean believes he still wears a backup tag. Therefore, he expects Stamps quarterback Henry Burris to go after him tomorrow night.

"I know the ball's gonna come my way, so I gotta try to make a play on it," he said. "I try to use that to my advantage."

AWARDS SEASON: Slotback Milt Stegall and longsnapper Chris Cvetkovic have won prestigious honours for their work off the field this season.

Stegall is this year's recipient of the Cal Murphy Heart of a Legend Award, given annually to the Bomber who best demonstrates outstanding sportsmanship and dedication to the CFL and community.

Stegall is also the team's nominee for the Tom Pate Memorial Award, which is presented annually by the CFL.

Stegall dedicated his time this year to CancerCare Manitoba, Variety Kids Club and various Winnipeg churches.

Cvetkovic, meanwhile, is the winner of the Ed Kotowich Good Guy Award, presented annually to the Bomber who best demonstrates football ability, team camaraderie and extraordinary effort in the community.

Cvetkovic, 29, is an excellent longsnapper and special teams player, and he has volunteered with CancerCare Manitoba, Child Find Manitoba, Winnipeg Children's Hospital Foundation, Raise-A-Reader, Christmas Cheer Board, Winnipeg Harvest and the Blue Bombers' Stay-In-School Program.

LATE HITS: The Bombers will make four changes for tomorrow's game. Left tackle Garrick Jones, slotback Milt Stegall, left guard Matt Sheridan and cornerback Jazzmen Williams are coming on, while right tackle Eric Wilson (hip), slotback Kwame Cavil, defensive tackle Cam Legault and cornerback Stanford Samuels (ankle) are out ... The Bombers (8-8) will rotate their offensive line against the Stamps (10-7) to give Sheridan some reps ... Samuels likely won't be back until the playoffs.


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