Blue corner no has-Bean

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

About a year ago, Robert Bean got a call asking if he wanted to give his pro football career one last shot in Winnipeg.

Then the import defensive back suffered a strained hamstring early in Blue Bombers training camp, usually a sign of an early ticket home. But he recovered and slowly worked his way on to the active roster.

But this go-round, Bean will come to camp as the only incumbent cornerback as last year's starters have gone elsewhere. Omar Evans was released and Stanford Samuels signed with Edmonton as a free agent.

"Right now, it seems like I'm the only corner left," Bean said from his Atlanta home yesterday. "But there are a few guys coming back who can play both corner and defensive back."

That would include Gabriel Fulbright and Jazzmen Williams. Bean also knows he will have to fight off challenges from the likes of CFL veterans Davin Bush and Greg Moss, signed as free agents.

"Bean's a good up-and-comer and he was one reason why we felt we could replace Omar," said Bombers GM Brendan Taman. "I think he'll be one of our top five back there (secondary)."

Funny thing is, Bean had already started on a post-football career after stints in the NFL and AFL.

"I was working with a marketing company in Atlanta and I really didn't like it," said Bean, 29. "And I was sitting at home wondering if I still had it or not and thinking about what I used to do."

Then came the call from Bombers linebacker Barrin Simpson, the former B.C. Lion who had just signed with Winnipeg.

"Barrin called and asked me if I still wanted to play," recalled Bean, who had been on the B.C. practice roster in 2004. "I felt I still had fresh legs and I was going to make sure I wasn't going to let this chance go down."

And last season revived his pro football career.

"Yeah, it did," readily admitted the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Mississippi State product. "I had worked hard to stay in shape and I had a pretty good year."

Bean, in fact, led the Bombers with four interceptions despite limited action. But there were no bonuses for them in his rookie pact.

"My contract didn't really matter to me, I was playing for the love of the game," said Bean, who has a wife and three daughters. "But I got a little raise and there are bonuses now."

New defensive backs coach Corey Chamblin has sent videotapes of the drills he wants the DBs to work on before coming to camp and Bean has been busy practising those steps.

"I talked to him and he seems pretty cool," Bean said. "He wants us to work on our hips and our footwork. And I've been getting ready doing a lot of running.

"It will be exciting this year. The whole league will be different with all that player movement and I'm going to play until the wheels fall off."

Meanwhile, Bean had moved to Houston to start his own public relations business but has since returned to Atlanta where he has more contacts. He is also contemplating branching the business into Canada.


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