Brazzell back in Blue

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

Charles Brazzell pointed out to his son recently that he hadn't stayed with one CFL team for more than two seasons.

So Chris Brazzell took his dad's not-so-subtle hint to heart and took a pay cut to re-sign with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for a third campaign.

The Bombers officially announced the signings of Brazzell, an import slotback, and backup Canadian defensive tackle Jon Oosterhuis yesterday. They would have become CFL free agents on Feb. 15, but both agreed to two-year deals that include options.

"One of my worst decisions that I made was a couple years back when I left B.C. and went to Hamilton and took money over playing on a team and being part of an offence," Brazzell said last night from Dallas.

"It's not time for me to leave right now. I need to stay where I'm at and just go from there. I couldn't afford to leave again.

"... There's so many guys in this league who have left a good situation ... and they're nowhere to be found."

When Brazzell got the contract from the Bombers in the mail, he put it in his drawer and left it there for a week while talking it over with his dad, Bombers slotback Milt Stegall and receivers coach Bobby Dyce.

Brazzell, 30, realized that he wasn't going to get his $125,000 salary again, since the team was already paying two other receivers -- Stegall and Derick Armstrong -- close to $200,000 apiece.

NOT MUCH LEVERAGE

He also knew that he wouldn't have that much leverage in the free-agent market after a 2006 season that featured a little razzle and not much more dazzle. He caught 43 passes for 604 yards and seven touchdowns.

"Do I really want to leave this just because I didn't have the season that I thought I was going to have?," Brazzell asked himself. "Should I leave this situation and try to become a free agent and go somewhere else knowing that there's hundreds of receivers they could sign besides Chris Brazzell?

"(The Bombers) could've signed anybody they wanted to, but they wanted me, and I appreciate that."

Bombers GM Brendan Taman was wary about letting the 6-foot-2, 203-pound deep threat reach free agency.

"He's going to play against you if you do, or at least have a chance to play against you," Taman said. "That's the reality of it. And I'd rather have him on our side than against us."

Brazzell admitted that he "disappeared" for about seven or eight weeks last season, but he feels the criticism he got was unwarranted. He noted that the underachieving Mike Quinn was his quarterback, and he and Jamie Stoddard were the lone CFL vets in the receiving corps for much of that time.

"It wasn't because I wasn't getting open," he said. "I just wasn't involved. People don't understand that."

Brazzell will remain in the wide-side slot position at which he finished the season, and despite deciding to stay put for a third consecutive year, he sounds like someone who is ready to make a fresh start.

"From the season I had last year," he said, "I can't do anything but go up."


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