Trade angers Warner

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

Ron Warner was still fuming long after the CFL deal was disclosed.

The import defensive lineman felt that the Blue Bombers banished him for signing with an Arena Football League team while still under contract to Winnipeg. The Bombers traded Warner and a fourth-round pick in this year's Canadian college draft to the Edmonton Eskimos for non-import defensive back Jason Nugent and a fifth-round draft pick.

"Yeah, they were mad at me," Warner said from Houston yesterday. "Everybody in Winnipeg's trying to figure out why they traded Ron Warner. It's not because I can't play."

'It's a business'

Bombers GM Brendan Taman readily admitted that the AFL scenario played a part.

"If he had made that club, we would have been missing a starting defensive lineman in camp and that didn't help," said Taman, who signed free agent DL Nate Davis in the interim.

"It's a business," said Warner, 31. "But they want to build a team to win the Grey Cup there and they think Nate Davis can do the job? Nate Davis can't come anywhere close to me."

Taman's response?

"He can prove that in Edmonton," he said.

"I'm really looking forward to that game (against the Bombers in Edmonton) on July 13," Warner said.

The 6-foot-3, 281-pound ex-NFLer became expendable when the Bombers signed Davis, formerly of Saskatchewan Roughriders, and decided to switch import offensive line Eric Wilson back to defence. Taman indicated a couple more D-linemen will also be brought to training camp.

"Jason Nugent is a really good athlete who runs well," Taman said. "And any time you can add a Canadian for an American, it's a good deal."

Nugent, however, spent most of last season nursing a knee injury (torn ACL) and only got into the last game of the year. But the knee has recovered, he assured.

"I feel really good about the trade," Nugent, 24, said from New Jersey where he is attending Rutgers University (business management/ labour relations). "It's a fresh start for me. It feels like I just got drafted."

The 6-foot, 215-pound Scarborough, Ont., native will be given a look at safety as Kyries Hebert may move up to linebacker, Taman said.

The Bombers will also be making about $45,000 on the difference in salaries between the two players.

"Nugent was a guy we liked in last year's draft and had him rated quite highly," Taman said.

HASHMARKS -- Although Taman made an offer to OL Bobby Singh, he expects the free agent to sign with either Toronto or Calgary ... Bomber free agent LB Ike Charlton is working out with the NFL Detroit Lions this week.


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