QB's untapped potential

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:03 AM ET

Kliff Kingsbury has been linked to Jessica Simpson, and Britney Spears cheered hard for him to win the Heisman Trophy.

While that is totally and completely awesome to some, it won't help Kingsbury one bit in his bid to win a backup quarterback job with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Winnipeg acquired the 27-year-old gunslinger from the Montreal Alouettes yesterday in exchange for quarterback Brad Banks. Kingsbury, who starred at Texas Tech University, joins Ryan Dinwiddie and Justin Holland in the quest for the two backup spots behind starter Kevin Glenn.

"He's a guy that came out of college in the same year as Brad Banks," Bombers head coach Doug Berry said. "He came out the same year as Casey Printers and a number of others, and he was the highest-rated guy coming out."

Kingsbury is one of only three NCAA quarterbacks to throw for 10,000 yards. He held 39 school, 13 Big 12 and seven NCAA records when he graduated in 2002.

Since then, however, he has bounced around the NFL and NFL Europa without much success, and he signed with the Alouettes in March. It's believed he was behind Anthony Calvillo, Marcus Brady and Will Proctor on the Als depth chart, so he's looking forward to the new opportunity.

"It's good," Kingsbury said last night from Montreal. "I don't know too much about the organization yet, but all the guys I talk to on the Alouettes had nothing but great things to say."

Holland and Dinwiddie, who may or may not get to audition one last time tomorrow night in the pre-season finale against Hamilton, depending on how long Glenn decides to play, met yesterday's trade with a giant shrug -- at least on the outside.

"Nothing has changed in my mind," Dinwiddie said. "They could bring in three or four quarterbacks next week, and we could be on a plane out."

NUMBERS DON'T LIE

Holland noted that the numbers don't lie; there are still three quarterbacks vying for two backup spots.

"I don't really believe that much has changed," the CFL rookie said. "Brad's gone, but now there's another QB coming in, and he's gonna have to come in and learn a new system. Right now I'm not really sure what the situation is."

The Bombers will keep all four quarterbacks until at least next Thursday's regular-season opener in Edmonton. It's up to the quarterbacks after that, but it sounds like Berry will give the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Kingsbury a long look.

"He's a very bright guy who's very talented," Berry said. "And hopefully he'll be able to learn our system quickly and maybe be able to demonstrate that he's capable of some mid-season consideration here."

"He fits what we do here pretty nicely," added Bombers GM Brendan Taman. "He's a good decision maker. He doesn't have the strongest of arms, but he gets the ball there. In our offence, that's what we want."

What Kingsbury doesn't want, as evidenced by his reaction last night, is the talk about him to centre around his love life. He reportedly attended an NBA game a few years ago with Simpson, the blonde bombshell singer and actress, and it's followed him ever since.

"Oh, man, that was a while back," Kingsbury said. "I'll just stick with a no comment on that."

Then there's his infatuation with Spears, who signed one of her posters for him in 2002 with the words: "Kliff, make room for the Heisman. Love, Britney."

Kingsbury finished ninth in the Heisman voting that year -- coincidentally, Banks was second -- but he didn't hold it against the pop star.

"I am a big Britney fan," Kingsbury said. "She came through Lubbock, where I went to school. I actually went to her bus and did all that stuff.

"It was cool, but that's about it."


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