Taman the Architect

JUDY OWEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:45 AM ET

On any given day, Brendan Taman might receive five to 10 CDs from wannabe professional football players.

One stands out in his mind, but for all the wrong reasons.

"There was a lineman that sent in a CD that showed him lifting weights for most of the (10-minute) tape," says Taman, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' general manager and vice-president of football operations.

"There was hard-rock music (in the background) and him lifting weights and him talking, describing his background in football."

There was one thing missing, though -- footage of the guy actually playing football.

Taman didn't reply to the hopeful, just like he doesn't for the vast majority of others who make unsolicited contact.

"Our club might be in the hole if I replied to all of them and phoned them all back," he says.

One exception was when he was with the B.C. Lions and received a tape from former Fresno State receiver Steve Muhammad, who was working at a Footlocker store at the time. Taman signed him and Muhammad was named the 1998 CFL rookie of the year.

Taman's football career began in 1987, when he gave up a good-paying job handling land leases for CN Rail to become the personal assistant to Dan Rambo, the Saskatchewan Roughriders' director of player personnel.

Taman has since gained a reputation for discovering talent and wheeling and dealing for the likes of Juran Bolden, Mike Sellers, Albert Johnson III, Charles Roberts and Khari Jones.

He figures his brain has stored some information about approximately 500 players.

NFL training camps are usually where he finds potential CFLers.

"You have to find the guy that isn't going to make their team that's good, but isn't bad enough where you wouldn't want him anyway," he says.

He remembers the reaction from some people after he signed star running back Charles Roberts -- "he's not very big."

"That's true, but you have to have a gut feel on certain guys sometimes and you've just got to go with it," he says.

"Some guys have worked out, some guys haven't." If more of them don't pan out, Taman knows he could get the pink slip.

"I've had a good run here and that's probably rare," he says. "I know my shelf life is running out. We'll see what happens."

But no matter how bad his day is, he has his four-year partner Dena Clark to cheer him up. Clark, a recruitment co-ordinator for Investors Group, also coaches the Bomber cheerleading squad.

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BRENDAN TAMAN FACTS

Born: Dec. 12, 1966 Birthplace: Saskatoon

Football experience: Twenty-first year in the CFL, ninth with the Bombers. Has also been involved with player personnel for Saskatchewan, Ottawa and B.C.

Football highlights: Was Winnipeg's assistant general manager when the Bombers were Grey Cup runners-up to Calgary in 2001.

Which player do you regret not signing? "Probably Geroy (Simon) when he came back the second time (and ended up signing with B.C.). We had Milt (Stegall) and Arland (Bruce III) and Robbie Gordon and Geroy wanted to be sort of the guy. I could have BSed him and told him he could be the guy here, but (the others) were all playing good."


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