Khan wants his job back

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

Obby Khan could soon be the centre of a small controversy in Blue Bomber land.

The veteran Winnipeg centre declared himself fit to return from an illness that has sidelined him since training camp yesterday. But since Dominic Picard has done such an outstanding job as Khan's replacement, head coach Doug Berry is reluctant to give Khan his old job back.

The versatile Khan, however, has played every single position on the offensive line.

'REALLY HELP'

"Whatever the coaches want, that's what I'll do," Khan said. "Obviously, I want to play centre. I feel that's my position and I lost it due to injury, or sickness. I want to come back with that and I think I can really help and really solidify even more things along the O-line with the older guys because we've played together. I think I can make a better unit even better."

Berry is not only pleased with Picard's play in the middle of the war zone, he believes the sophomore Laval product is a better shotgun snapper than Khan.

"He's helped (quarterback) Kevin Glenn in that his long snaps in the shotgun have been right on the money," Berry said. "This has been an intangible that has enabled Kevin to pick his game up a little bit in terms of what his completion percentages are, his decision-making -- all the things that have gone into him experiencing a little bit more success this year. Part of it's been the long snap coming from Picard."

Picard, by the way, claimed he was unaware of Berry's praises.

"He said that?" he asked. "Good. That's pretty good. I like it."

Picard, however, declined to compare his snaps to Khan's.

In fact, Picard did not even know who would be taking the reps at centre with the No. 1 offence with Khan set to return to action.

"When we started (yesterday's) practice, I was told to stay with the first group," said the 6-foot-2, 285-pound Sainte-Foy, Que., native. "But I don't know. I'm doing my stuff and whatever's going to happen is going to happen. I'm glad to stay in there and if I'm doing my job, then that's what's happening."

It should also be pointed out here that the Bomber O-line leads the CFL in the least number of quarterback sacks allowed (nine) and boasts the league's top rusher, Charles Roberts -- without Khan in the lineup.

Although Khan lost 50 pounds during his illness, his weight is back up to 277.

"I'm still 10 pounds off my ideal playing weight so, that's a concern for the coaching staff," said the 6-foot-4, Simon Fraser product who was actually listed at 295 last year.

"But medically, I'm cleared to play. I'm ready go. Strength-wise, I'm there.

"I need about another 10 pounds. I mean, I've waited this long so, why rush me back in right now? It's a long season. It's up to the coaching staff and we'll see what happens." Khan, 26, also praised Picard for his performance thus far.

TOP O-LINEMAN

"He's been playing well so, I don't want to be the coaches now," said the club's top O-lineman last season.

"They have to make some decisions and decide what's going to happen."

Although Khan's unnamed illness has cleared up for now, he still needs to take medication for it.

"I'll probably be on meds for the rest of my life," he said. "I'll just work at that and keep it in check, then I'll be fine. It's a problem I'll have forever, I imagine. Once we get through the regular season, we'll take a look at it and see what happens from there."


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