Charlton expects to return

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:39 AM ET

The last Winnipeg Blue Bomber starter on the CFL's free-agent market sounds as if he's about to be back in Blue and Gold.

Linebacker Ike Charlton said yesterday he expects his agent to work out a deal with Bombers GM Brendan Taman soon.

"Something should be done by the end of next week," Charlton said yesterday. "... It's a pretty high chance that I'll be back there."

The 29-year-old originally wanted at least $100,000 a season, but has obviously lowered his demands. Charlton said he will agree to the salary Taman offered a month ago if it's still on the table, believed to be in the $75,000 range, and if the sides can work out a few final details, like incentives.

CAMP BODY

"I may not get what I was supposed to get, but I'll get it at the end of the year," he said.

Charlton has been working out for NFL teams the last couple of months. He said two more teams, the Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills, want to take a look at him, but he doesn't think he'll do it.

Charlton doesn't want to be an NFL camp body, and the fact he would need to be paid the veteran minimum of $667,000 makes the chances of a team signing him slim.

In fact, the two-year veteran has been watching film of CFL offences for the past month in anticipation of his return to Winnipeg.

"I plan on doing some real big things up there," he said. "I'm going to know every receiver, every move they do. I've always been that type of player anyway."

He's also been perusing the team's fan website -- ourbombers.com -- and finding plenty of inspiration from the posts that he's been reading.

"The fans think Ike Charlton is replaceable," he said. "If they think they can find a better product out there, let me know. I don't care who they bring to camp. They won't beat me out.

"I guess I gotta get 95 tackles and 10 sacks and then be the defensive player of the year or something for them to go get Ike Charlton jerseys.

"... I've been using that as big-time motivation."

Charlton finished second on the team last season with 60 tackles in his first season as a strong-side linebacker.

"Imagine what I could do this year," he said.


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