Westwood getting boot as punter

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

The punting job won't be Troy Westwood's to lose after all.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Doug Berry has already taken the responsibility away from the 16-year veteran.

Berry wants Westwood to focus solely on his placekicking this season, so the 40-year-old won't be doing any punting when training camp opens Sunday.

"I saw Troy in here about a month ago, and I told him that I think he's very capable of being a really good field-goal kicker still," Berry said. "He's been one in the past, and he's still very capable.

"I said 'Based on your punting performance last year, which I wasn't satisfied with, I want you to come into training camp this year expecting to be the field-goal kicker, not expecting to be the punter. I don't want anything you're doing trying to improve your punting game to affect your field-goal game.' "

Westwood had a 42.9-yard average last season in only his second full campaign as the team's punter. He was good on 74% of his field-goal attempts.

The Bombers have import punter Chris Beckman at rookie camp, and they still may go after Pat Fleming, formerly of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Berry said Beckman has been "OK" through two days of rookie camp.

"First day out there I know he was a nervous Nellie, and today he was a little more comfortable," Berry said. "Now he's gotta get ready for the Westwood cold shoulder."

HAPPY TO BE HERE: Quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie signed with the Arena Football League's Arizona Rattlers in the off-season because he thought his commitment to the Bombers was over.

"I signed a one-year deal here," said Dinwiddie, who joined the Bombers last August. "I thought that's all it was. I didn't have an agent, so I left and went ahead and signed on with (Arizona)."

What Dinwiddie didn't know was that every CFL contract includes an option year.

"I didn't know that they wanted me back for this season," Dinwiddie said. "I thought they were going in a different direction by not signing me at the end of the year.

"So once I realized they wanted me back here, I jumped all over the opportunity again."

Dinwiddie's move, along with a few other CFL defections to the AFL, caused the leagues to reach an agreement in which they will honour the other's contracts.

LATE HITS: The following players earned a mention from Berry for their rookie camp performances thus far: linebackers Toney Edison, Kai Parham, Corey Jenkins and Cam Hall, defensive backs Jason Nugent and Jazzmen Williams, and receiver Kerry Johnson ... Berry said it's not a given that he will be bringing both rookie quarterbacks, Justin Holland and Matt Bohnet, to training camp ... The Bombers might have to cut three or four players before training camp begins Sunday. CFL teams are allowed to invite 68 players (excluding draft picks) to their main camp ... The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have signed former NFL quarterback Shaun King ... The B.C. Lions are reportedly close to signing starter Dave Dickenson to a contract extension.


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