Canuck O-lineman joins Bombers

KIRK PENTON

, Last Updated: 1:18 PM ET

Brendan Taman was the master of spin yesterday afternoon.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers GM traded import offensive lineman Garrick Jones and a third-round draft pick to the Calgary Stampeders for non-import left tackle Alexandre Gauthier and first- and fifth-round pick.

Taman knew he would be questioned about trading away his first-round pick (third overall), which he has now done for the seventh consecutive year, but he had a quick answer.

"Gauthier was a No. 1 pick (overall), so we moved up two spots today," Taman said with a chuckle.

Gauthier was the first overall selection in the 2002 draft by the Ottawa Renegades. Taman said the 6-foot-7, 307-pound Quebec native has given up two sacks in the last four years.

Gauthier is pumped about coming to the Bombers. He was nervous about Calgary's training camp, because he heard Stamps new offensive co-ordinator George Cortez prefers American tackles.

"The Blue Bombers, last year they improved a lot, and I'm sure they are heading in the same direction this year," Gauthier said. "We're going to be a great team. I'm proud to be a Blue Bomber."

The arrival of Gauthier means Dan Goodspeed will likely move to right tackle and Eric Wilson will be shifted to Ron Warner's old defensive tackle position.

Although free-agent O-lineman Mike Abou-Mechrek told Sun Media yesterday he's down to either Winnipeg or Saskatchewan, it's looks at though his stint in Blue and Gold is over.

BACK IN BLUE: Anthony Malbrough decided late Thursday night to return to the Bombers, just before he would have become a CFL free agent.

Taman said the signing is big.

"I relate halfbacks to Canadians," Taman said. "I know he struggled against Toronto in the playoff game, but the other 17 or 18 he played for us he played pretty good."

LATE HITS: Taman said former Saskatchewan non-import OL Andrew Greene has narrowed his choices to Winnipeg or Toronto ... WR Ryan Thelwell officially signed with Calgary yesterday, DT Nautyn McKay-Loescher inked a deal with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and Alouettes RB Eric Lapointe retired.


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