Blue blown away by recruit

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:14 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have invited Winnipeg Rifles to their training camp before, but this one is different.

It's because the player, Jordan Matechuk, is different.

The Bombers actually signed the 21-year-old linebacker/longsnapper to a contract yesterday, just days after director of football operations Ross Hodgkinson and Canadian draft co-ordinator Bob Dyce watched him work out at the University of Manitoba.

"We're not bringing him in here as a junior player with a notion that at the end of camp he's going back to play junior," Hodgkinson said yesterday. "He's signed, and he's taking a roster spot. We have expectations equal to what Jordan's expectations are as well.

"This isn't a feel-good, do-the-right-thing story. This is legit."

What had Hodgkinson and Dyce doing double takes last Thursday was Matechuk's longsnapping time, or the number of seconds it took for him to get the ball to the punter.

"I'm not going to lie," Dyce said. "... I don't know that I've seen anyone put it back faster."

More importantly, Matechuk was deadly accurate as well.

The 6-foot, 218-pound product of Yorkton, Sask., still looked shocked yesterday that he was a pro football player. He spent the winter working as a stud roughneck -- that was his actual title -- on oil rigs in Alberta and B.C. and only ventured back to civilization earlier this month.

He was then asked to attend the evaluation camp at the U of M, and now he has a pro contract.

"My face is numb. I can't stop smiling. It's all new to me," said Matechuk, who spent the last year and a half with the Rifles. "I never expected this to happen this soon. It's a great opportunity."

The Bombers have an established longsnapper in four-year veteran Chris Cvetkovic, but Dyce said you can never have enough depth.

"Chris has done a good job for us longsnapping, but if Jordan were to make the roster then you have a security blanket there," he said.

Matechuk, who will need to impress the coaches with his special teams play if he's going to make the team, is obviously still adjusting to the world of pro football. After referring to Dyce as "Bobby" while answering a question yesterday, the coach quickly pointed out, "It's coach Dyce now."

"Sorry, coach," Matechuk said.


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