Revenge on the menu

Esks DB Stanford Samuels catches his breath on the sidelines at practice Sunday. (Sun Media/Brendon...

Esks DB Stanford Samuels catches his breath on the sidelines at practice Sunday. (Sun Media/Brendon Dlouhy)

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

EDMONTON -- Two of them took parting shots when they left Winnipeg. A third is still wondering about a broken promise.

But Ron Warner, Stanford Samuels and Stevie Baggs will get a chance to start exacting revenge against their former team when Edmonton plays host to the Blue Bombers in their CFL season-opener at Commonwealth Stadium tonight.

All three had taken issue with Bombers GM Brendan Taman.

"Any time you're against your former team, you want to have a good showing," said Samuels, the defensive back who signed with the Eskimos as a free agent when negotiations with Taman went sour. "So, it's not just a personal vendetta between me and him."

Samuels had called Taman "a snake" when he left.

"We had some words," he conceded. "In hindsight, I would say it was a misunderstanding. We both moved on and are happy to be in the situations we're in, and we're ready to play."

Warner had been dealt to Edmonton after being beckoned back from the AFL because he was still under contract to the Bombers.

"I wasn't upset," said the import defensive lineman, who had suggested that Nate Davis could not replace him. "I was disappointed because I felt I was part of an organization and felt I was part of helping to build a defence and they kind of looked at me as if I wasn't anybody. I don't know how I feel now but probably, when the lights come on and we start to go (tonight), I'll get rarin' to go."

Baggs was denied a chance to go to the AFL because the Bombers had told him they had big plans for the import defensive end. Then they released him.

"That was disheartening," he said. "But that's a part of the business and you've got to roll with the punches."

Samuels, meantime, was downright excited to play a game where veteran Bomber slotback Milt Stegall is hoping to set the all-time CFL TD record.

SHINE ON BIG STAGE

"This is an opportunity to shine on the big stage," said the 5-foot-10, 192-pound import. "You can't get a bigger stage than this. I'm coming over here and the story about his getting a chance to possibly break the record and the chance to go head-to-head (against Stegall) for the majority of the game, I'm really looking forward to it."

Samuels, however, will be one of eight new faces on the Edmonton defence.

"We just want to execute our offence and not worry about what they're trying to do on defence, and make them react to us and not us react to them," said Winnipeg quarterback Kevin Glenn. "The main focus right now is to come in and get the two points."

And if the offence does its job, Stegall will get his record, Glenn added.

"I want to see us win," Bomber head coach Doug Berry said. "I want to see us play together -- just good, hard play from start to finish and not quit when the game's 59 minutes in ... That's going to be the mark of our footballteam -- how hard we play."

The Eskimos, who failed to make the playoffs for the first time in 35 years last season, want to get off on the right foot.

"It's very important to get off to a good start," said Edmonton quarterback Ricky Ray. "We don't want to try to play catch-up early on in the season like we did last year. That puts you into a tough situation, especially at the end of the year."

The game will be a litmus test for both sides.

"We'll be tested by a pretty good football team so, by 11 o'clock (tonight), we'll have a pretty good idea of where we're at," said Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia.


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