Passport requirement adds to headaches

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:03 AM ET

Thanks to the U.S. and Canadian governments, Brendan Taman is going to have a few more headaches this season.

It used to be that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers GM could sign a U.S. player and fly him into town the next day. Now that a passport is needed to fly into Canada from the U.S. -- and vice-versa -- that process just got a lot more difficult.

At least four new Bombers who will participate in the team's mini-camp that starts tomorrow are being flown today into Grand Forks, N.D., where a Bomber staffer will pick them up and drive them back to Winnipeg. You are allowed to cross the border without a passport as long as it's on the ground.

"It adds to our logistical headaches, times 10," Taman said.

And that's the way it will have to be from now on for American players who don't have passports.

"We braced for this for quite some time," Taman said. "It's way more worrisome for me when we get to the season, because time is really of the essence then, and there's going to be no way around it.

"A guy's going to get a phone call Monday morning and expect to be on a plane Tuesday morning. Well, he ain't gonna have a passport if he didn't have one already.

"We're lucky we've got Grand Forks. The neighbours to the south are helping me out."

Taman was trying to arrange it so receiver Tommy Manus, running backs Fred Reid and Antoine Bagwell, and linebacker Toney Edison arrive in Grand Forks today around the same time.

Manus was signed in February, and he applied for a passport, but it obviously got stuck in the massive application logjam and never arrived. There wasn't enough time for Reid, Edison and Bagwell, who were all signed this month, to get one.

And getting the players to Winnipeg might not be the worst part. If any of them get cut, a Bomber staffer would have to drive them back to Grand Forks.

"That would be a nice drive," Taman said. "Let's hope that doesn't happen."


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