Cream rises to top Johnson lll welcomes Dorsey competition

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:50 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers boasted the man with the best punt return yardage in the CFL last season.

Not only that, but Winnipeg kick returner Albert Johnson III finished second in combined yardage (1,992) to teammate Charles Roberts after coming back from his NFL sojourn.

He was a CFL special teams all-star to boot.

And still the Bombers acquired Saskatchewan kick returner/tailback Dominique Dorsey on the eve of this year's training camp.

'SO BE IT'

"I can't control that, man," Johnson said during yesterday's medicals. "He's a hell of a player and if they felt that was needed to help the team, man, then so be it. I don't feel threatened or anything like that. I go out and do my job.

"I know what I'm capable of and they (Bombers) know what I'm capable of. If it's a move they felt they needed to make to help the team, then I'm for it.

"That's part of this game and competition makes everybody better. Cream rises to the top. So it's all good, healthy competition. I've been around long enough to know that that's part of the deal and sooner or later, you're going to be faced with something like that and this is my test."

Yet, the 5-foot-9, 180-pound import, who also took some turns at receiver last year, felt underappreciated last season.

"I know that you guys (media), the fans and maybe some of the coaches expected a lot more last year," said Johnson, 29. "But I felt I did a job that helped our offence and set us up in certain situations and gave us big plays when needed.

So I'm going to build on that, man. I'm a playmaker, I know what I can do, but as far as individual goals, I just want to improve on where I left off last year."

Bomber head coach Doug Berry has already indicated it is unlikely both Johnson and Dorsey will be kept around.

And without Graeme Bell, who is still recovering from a head wound, in camp, Dorsey has the added bonus of being a backup tailback.

"It's going to be a great opportunity for me and a whole new start, so I'm definitely looking forward to it," said Dorsey, who led Saskatchewan in all-purpose yards (1,649, seventh in the CFL), despite playing only 14 games.

"No hard feelings (toward the Roughriders) or anything. It's just one of those things that kind of worked out in a good way."

As he tries to find a fit in the Bombers' attack, Dorsey is well aware of what both Johnson and Roberts can do.

"It won't be easy but those are definitely two guys I can complement," suggested the 5-foot-7, 170-pound import. "I'm looking forward to working with those guys and being such great players and athletes ... Those guys are around my size so it's going to be fun to see what we can all do on the field.

"I think I can have a good future over here, whether it's running with the ball or kick returning. So, I'm excited and right now, I feel comfortable that I'm in a good place."

Johnson also started in Saskatchewan back in 1999. But his pro career took off after he signed with Winnipeg as a free agent in 2000.

Running backs Fred Reid and Antoine Bagwell will also get looks as kickoff returners.


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