The Winnipeg Blue Bombers continued to stock their shelves yesterday.
Tomorrow they will begin the process of finding out what they're going to buy.
The Bombers announced the signing of three players yesterday, and put the finishing touches on contracts for three more who will be on the Canad Inns Stadium field tomorrow for the start of the team's three-day mini-camp.
Canadian fullback Gilles Lezi, a three-year CFL veteran, and rookie linebackers Toney Edison and Travis Noel, the team's sixth-round draft pick this year, were officially inked to deals yesterday.
The Blue and Gold have also agreed to terms with a pair of imports, running back Antoine Bagwell and punter Chris Beckman, along with Canadian offensive lineman Adam Krajewski, who attended last year's training camp.
The 5-foot-11, 186-pound Bagwell was a star tailback at California University, an NCAA Div. II school in Pennsylvania. He attended St. Louis Rams training camp last summer and was signed and released by the Philadelphia Eagles this winter.
Bagwell joins Fred Reid as the import running backs who will vie for the backup job behind CFL rushing king Charles Roberts.
"They're both pretty good actually," Bombers GM Brendan Taman said. "Reid's faster, and Bagwell's more of a multi-purpose guy."
Head coach Doug Berry doesn't care who wins the backup job. He just wants to have a solid tailback behind Roberts on the depth chart.
"You always knock on wood that Charlie stays healthy, but I'd like to give him a little bit of competition," Berry said. "Hopefully he can look over his shoulder and say 'Hey, this guy's pretty good.' I want him to feel that somebody else is there."
When it was pointed out to Berry that such scenarios have caused Roberts to become a little upset in the past (see Smith, Onterrio), the coach didn't blink.
"That's all right," Berry said. "I'll take that trouble. That means that we're better."
Beckman, 23, punted at Tulane University, where he had a 42.4-yard average, and is being brought in to challenge Troy Westwood. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Beckman is no stranger to overcoming obstacles, having survived being accidentally shot in the liver in a November 2005 hunting accident.
Lezi has had a vagabond career, as the Bombers will technically be his fifth CFL stop in four seasons. His best campaign was with the Ottawa Renegades in 2005, when he finished second on the squad with 15 special teams tackles.
Lezi was not a last-minute replacement for running back Graeme Bell, who is out indefinitely after being beaten by a bat-wielding attacker earlier this month in Saskatoon.
"We actually talked to him before Graeme's situation, so he was coming in," Taman said. "Luckily he is, because that's an experienced guy that will help us get through that transition if need be."
LATE HITS: All five Bombers quarterbacks, including veterans Kevin Glenn, Brad Banks and Ryan Dinwiddie, will participate in the mini-camp ... Taman is still crossing his fingers that he can get Juran Bolden's name on a contract. The former Bombers cornerback is still exploring his NFL options, but Taman plans to give him a call next week.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will conduct mini-camp practices tomorrow (10:30 a.m.), Thursday (9:15 a.m.) and Friday (9:15 a.m.). Here is the tentative list of the 28 participants:
- QB Kevin Glenn
- QB Brad Banks
- QB Ryan Dinwiddie
- QB Justin Holland
- QB Matt Bohnet
- WR Tommy Manus
- WR Jeremy Carter
- WR Kerry Johnson
- WR Blair Atkinson
- WR Jeff Keegan
- FB Neil Fulgueras
- RB Fred Reid
- RB Antoine Bagwell
- OL Adam Krajewski
- OL Kyle Koch
- DE Shawn Mayne
- LB Corey Jenkins
- LB Eugene Boakye
- LB David Lowry
- LB Brad Newman
- LB Kai Parham
- LB Jordan Matechuk
- LB Toney Edison
- LB Travis Noel
- DB Jazzmen Williams
- DB Chijioke Onyenegecha
- S Cam Hall
- P Chris Beckman