Ex-Bombers have hate on for old team

JIM BENDER, HOME TURF

, Last Updated: 11:45 AM ET

One former Blue Bomber called him a snake.

Another questioned his motives.

And a third decried a broken promise issued by Winnipeg GM Brendan Taman.

And all three now play for the Edmonton Eskimos, who will be in town to take on Taman's team on Friday.

Import defensive back Stanford Samuels signed with Edmonton as a free agent when he did not like the way negotiations with Taman had turned.

"(Taman's) techniques, his tactics, his lack of respect for a quote-unquote family member is what opened that door," Samuels told Sun Media after signing with the Eskimos. "(Edmonton) showed that they want me ...

"I really want this to be exposed because he's a snake, man!"

Samuels had toned down that tune when the Bombers were in Edmonton recently.

"Did I call him a snake?" he asked, suggesting there was some doubt about the recorded interview.

"We had some words. There were some things said from both sides -- both out in the open and behind the scenes. Hindsight, looking at, 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."

That war of words got so bad Taman even defended himself on the fans' website, ourbombers.com, after Samuels had questioned his integrity in dealing with himself and others in his situation.

"I don't recall losing anybody else because I was a snake," Taman said.

But that situation still gives Samuels added incentive.

"Any time you play against your former team, you want to have a good showing," he said. "So, it's not just a personal vendetta between me and him. He's a great businessman and I feel I'm a great football player. So, we're going to do the business that we do.

"I'm definitely not upset. I'm not going to say there was bad blood but there was a misunderstanding. But that's done. That's water under the bridge. I landed in a great place and they landed a great player in (Davin) Bush to replace me and move on."

Defensive end Ron Warner was upset when Taman dealt him to Edmonton in the deal that brought safety Jason Nugent to Winnipeg.

"Everybody in Winnipeg's trying to figure out why they traded Ron Warner," Warner said then. "It's not because I can't play.

"It's a business. But they want to build a team to win the Grey Cup there and they think (defensive lineman) Nate Davis can do the job? Nate Davis can't come anywhere close to me ... I'm really looking forward to that game on July 13."

Warner had also settled down at the end of June.

"It was probably more miscommunication," he said. "I don't think the organization and Ron Warner were on the same page. I came to (Taman) with a proposal and he looked at it like it wasn't anything. So when he looked at it like that, it made me feel that he didn't care for Ron Warner, ya know what I'm saying? I put 100% into the organization last season. They went one way, I went the other and I'm happy for them and I'm glad the get the opportunity to play against them."

Defensive end Stevie Baggs was refused an opportunity to sign with an AFL team because the Bombers told him they had big plans for him. Then they tried to move him to the practice roster at the end of training camp. That's when Edmonton signed him.

"It was kind of disappointing because you wanted to be there after putting in all that work last season," said Baggs, who spent most of the season on the Bomber practice roster. "I felt like I paid my dues but, I'm not bitter.

"I'm just disappointed that I didn't get the opportunity to really stay and do the things necessary to play." He was more upset about missing a chance to play in the AFL.

"The thing that was more disheartening for me was the fact that I felt I was loyal to the team and didn't sign anything when I had an opportunity to go make money on the off-season," he said. "When you have to pay your dues here as a rookie, it's more difficult for you to do during the off-season.

"They told me they had plans for me this year. But when it came to fruition, that wasn't the case. But that's a part of the business and you've got to roll with the punches ... In this business, your opportunity to play this game is short. When you get the opportunity when someone wants you and respects your talent and ability, that's always a blessing."


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