Taman continues to beef up O-line

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:07 AM ET

The state of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive line has Brendan Taman smiling.

The Bomber GM yesterday signed former Saskatchewan Roughriders non-import guard Andrew Greene to a two-year deal that includes an option. The move came five days after he acquired Canadian left tackle Alexandre Gauthier in a trade with the Calgary Stampeders.

"Wherever (Greene) fits on our offensive line he's going to start," Taman said, "so whenever you can add a starting Canadian dominant offensive lineman, I'd say it's pretty big."

The Roughriders and Blue Bombers have essentially switched right guards, as free agent Mike Abou-Mechrek signed with the Green and White on Saturday.

"We had Abou, we had Greene, and we had Gauthier," Taman said. "I had to get one of them or I was going to be in a little bit of trouble.

"Fortunately I got two of them, which puts us in a pretty good spot."

The 6-foot-3, 315-pound Greene was named the CFL's top lineman in 2003 and was a CFL all-star in 2000, '03, '04 and '05. The Roughriders released the 37-year-old on Feb. 1 for salary reasons.

Greene had narrowed his choices to Winnipeg or his hometown Toronto Argonauts, but the Bombers won out with their persistence and their potential.

"Winnipeg showed more interest," Greene said yesterday from Regina. "They wanted me, and, at the same time, I was more weighing the whole odds of pretty much which team I feel has the better chance of going to the Grey Cup."

There were rumblings last season about Greene's health, but both the player and the Bombers feel he's ready for a 10th CFL season.

"I don't see a lot of weaknesses there," Taman said. "If you're watching him play last year, you don't see a perceived 37-year-old that's struggling to finish his career."

Greene's addition means the Bombers will certainly go with four Canadian starters on the O-line. Gauthier, Greene and centre Obby Khan are locks, while Matt Sheridan is the front-runner at left guard. Import Dan Goodspeed will likely end up at right tackle.

"He's just too good of a player not to be on our field," Taman said.

LATE HITS: Corey Chamblin is the Bombers' new defensive backs coach. The 29-year-old, who played in the NFL, spent last year as a defensive assistant with NFL Europe's Frankfurt Galaxy ... Taman is done negotiating with two of his free agents, SB Kwame Cavil and LB Ike Charlton. "It's not like I'm going to fall into another 50 grand here overnight," he said. "They know where we are at, and it's just time to make a decision and move on one way or another." ... Former Winnipeg Jets GM John Ferguson, who is fighting bone cancer, will be the guest speaker at the second annual Never Alone Luncheon on April 10 at Canad Inns-Polo Park. Call 784-2583 for tickets.


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