Banks back in Blue

Bombers' quarterback Brad Banks didn't get to see much action last year but he's been promised a...

Bombers' quarterback Brad Banks didn't get to see much action last year but he's been promised a fair shot this year. (Sun File/Marcel Cretain)

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

Call it the curious case of Brad Banks.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers had been all aglow when they plucked the promising pivot in the Ottawa Renegades dispersal draft last year, and never mind the $100,000 the backup was earning.

But Bomber head coach Doug Berry showed little confidence in Banks during the season and all indications were that there was slim chance that he would be back. Yet, the Bombers officially announced Banks as one of two quarterbacks inked to new CFL pacts yesterday.

"I guess I had to grow on coach Berry," Banks suggested from West Palm Beach, Fla.

And it seems that is just what happened.

"Doug was very high on him once the off-season started," said GM Brendan Taman, who indicated that the opinions on Banks had changed. "I guess he put a year's work into him and didn't want to let him get away. And it's familiarity with who he is and familiarity with the system."

And it was Berry who called Banks on the eve of the free agent deadline, which convinced the 6-foot, 204-pound Iowa product to return.

"I was pretty close to going to Saskatchewan and Montreal came on pretty strong at the end," said Banks, 27. "But coach Berry called and said he wanted me back and I felt I wanted to be in Winnipeg because it would give me a better chance to play because I know the system."

But first, Taman had to convince Banks to take a pay cut. And that was one reason for the delay in pursuing him.

"That factored into it," Taman admitted. "But it all depends on how much he plays. If he plays more, he gets more and it won't be that much of a hit, although he did take a hit on his signing bonus."

NOT COMPLAINING

But he was not complaining.

"Yeah, I had to do that but it was for all the good," said Banks, who completed 14 passes for 64 yards and one touchdown in limited action last year. "But this puts me in a position to play and I want to prove to everyone that I can play."

The Bombers also signed quarterback Matt Bohnet, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound Eastern Michigan product who failed to make the NFL Europe grade.

"He's a tall leftie who is well-suited to our game," Taman said. "He's fairly athletic and has a good arm."

Bohnet, 24, had signed with the NFL's Washington Redskins last year but was released before the season started. In 2004, he was just 160 yards short of surpassing Charlie Batch's school record for total offence. In 2005, Bohnet completed 220 of 351 passes for 2,187 yards and 21 TDs. He also rushed for 424 yards on 100 carries.

HASHMARKS: According to reports out of Saskatoon, the man who apparently attacked Bomber RB Graeme Bell with a baseball bat has turned himself in and has been charged with aggravated assault. It is believed he attacked four other people the same morning. Bell, 26, was released from hospital Tuesday and is recovering at home ... Taman does not expect to get an answer from DB Juran Bolden, now an NFL free agent, until the end of this month. Bolden, recently released by Tampa Bay, is still hoping to land NFL work.


Videos

Photos