Samuels sounds off

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:49 AM ET

Three days ago, it looked like Stanford Samuels' return to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers was a slam dunk.

Yesterday, the cornerback signed a free-agent contract with the Edmonton Eskimos and called Bombers GM Brendan Taman "a snake" in what has become one of the nastiest departures in team history.

"(Taman's) techniques, his tactics, his lack of respect for a quote-unquote family member is what opened that door," an animated Samuels said yesterday from Miami. "(Edmonton) showed that they want me.

"... I really want this to be exposed because he's a snake, man!"

The spat got so tense last night that Taman issued a statement on the team's fan website, ourbombers.com, defending himself. Samuels had been on the site earlier in the day questioning Taman's integrity and at one point called him "Brenda."

"This is getting a little bit extreme on the comments, questioning my character and motives," Taman told the Sun. "This is getting a little bit bizarre. If you're going to start to challenge me on that, I'm not going to take that lying down."

Samuels, who wasn't represented by an agent during the off-season negotiations, claims Taman tried to sneak details past him in the $90,000-a-year contract they agreed to Feb. 7. The 26-year-old said "former players" had warned him Taman would do just that.

COLD FEET

"I'm thinking, 'Ain't no way. I'm taking under my value. We both had our words,' " Samuels said. "So I get the paper, and my incentives are off, my option year is questionable, and one of my bonus's wording was wrong, so I called the CFLPA."

Samuels got the contract Thursday morning but didn't call the CFLPA until Friday morning. Before calling the CFLPA, however, Samuels sent a text message to Taman saying the contract would be signed and faxed to the Bomber office by 9 a.m.

Samuels said he got cold feet at the last minute due to what he believed was Taman's dubious track record. Samuels also said CFLPA lawyer Ed Molstad told him he was about to sign something that "did not represent" what Samuels and Taman had agreed to.

A few hours later the Eskimos swooped in, and Samuels is now getting ready for the season-opener against his former team on June 28.

Taman said if Samuels had concerns about the contract, he should have addressed them with him directly. Taman added that his 20 years in the business is a testament to his integrity.

"I don't recall losing anybody else because I was a snake," Taman said.

LATE HIT: OL Mike Abou-Mechrek, who spent the past two seasons with the Bombers, signed a free-agent deal with the Saskatchewan Roughriders last night ... Taman sent a contract offer to free-agent LB Ike Charlton yesterday, but it's believed the sides have a significant salary gap to close.


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