The claws come out

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have ticked off their opponent for the second straight week.

B.C. Lions head coach and general manager Wally Buono was quoted in a Vancouver newspaper yesterday saying he is peeved at Bombers GM Brendan Taman over comments he made about Leos quarterback Jarious Jackson.

"I was really annoyed," Buono told The Province on Saturday. "Why would he even say anything about another player that is under contract?"

Reading between the lines, Buono thinks Taman may be guilty of tampering.

Taman told the Sun last week that he doesn't regret not trading for Jackson, the Lions' third-string pivot, in the off-season.

His comments came after the Lions, using Jackson in relief of the injured Buck Pierce, had beaten the Calgary Stampeders on the road.

"He was only 3-for-7 (for 44 yards), although two were for touchdowns," Taman told the Sun's Jim Bender on July 29. "If he starts against Saskatchewan and wins next week, maybe I'll change my mind about him."

'I DON'T CARE'

Jackson made his first CFL start against the Roughriders on Thursday, but the Lions lost 21-9. It was their first setback of the season.

Buono also told The Province that he plans to speak with Taman and voice his displeasure about the comments before Friday's game between the Bombers and Lions at B.C. Place.

Taman, however, is on a scouting trip through NFL training camps and will not be attending the game. He wasn't aware of Buono's beef when reached yesterday in Ohio.

"I have no idea what he said," Taman said in an e-mail. "And frankly I don't care, so I won't comment on it anyway."

This little spat comes on the heels of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats being angry at the Bombers for attempting a last-second field goal while leading 36-18 on July 27.

The Ticats exacted their revenge on Friday, pummelling the Bombers 43-22 at Ivor Wynne Stadium for their first win of the season.

But Bombers head coach Doug Berry now feels vindicated for attempting the field goal. He did it because Winnipeg and Hamilton play four times this season, and if they split the season series and end up tied in the East Division the tiebreaker is points for and against.

The Ticats are now only five points back of the Bombers in the standings, the season series is tied 1-1, and the Ticats have a three-point edge in the tiebreaker.

Berry made sure to mention that last fact to Ticats head coach Charlie Taaffe when the shook hands after Friday night's game.

"I said, 'Now we're behind you by three. See how important that three points would've been?' " Berry said, adding that Taaffe chuckled at his comment. "That 18 points disappeared in a hurry, didn't it? I knew they were a good team."

Taaffe was fuming mad at Berry for the last-second field goal attempt, but the good friends had a nice, long chat on Thursday night and again before Friday's game to mend fences.

"We're good," Berry said.

Taman and Buono, however, don't have the same history of friendship.

Someone better get Dr. Phil on the phone.


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