Freaky flight to Regina

PAUL FRIESEN AND KIRK PENTON

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

REGINA -- The pilot must have been a Blue Bombers fan. Hopefully, the passengers were, too.

Otherwise there would have been some ornery Air Canada travellers headed west yesterday morning.

When the Bombers arrived at Winnipeg airport for their trip to Regina, they were told 10 people couldn't get on the plane due to weight restrictions.

The assistant coaches and some players, including linemen Obby Khan and Brian Guebert, were bumped to a plane bound for Edmonton, raising concerns about their preparation for today's Labour Day weekend classic against Saskatchewan.

"I thought, 'Oh, God, when are they gonna get in?'" Bombers GM Brendan Taman said.

Turns out the pilot made an unscheduled landing in Regina and the entire team was together by 10 a.m., in time for one last practice.

TARGETING MILT: With kicker Troy Westwood, Saskatchewan's Public Enemy No. 1, not in the Bombers lineup, you wonder who'll be the main target of the Rider fans today.

"Milt Stegall might be a bit surprised," said the Riders' Scott Schultz. "As great a player as he is, our fans are going to be loud and getting in his ear."

As for Westwood's absence, the defensive lineman had two words to say: "Big deal."

RECORD WATCH: Charles Roberts can become the Winnipeg Football Club's all-time leading rusher today.

The Bombers tailback needs 49 yards to move past the legendary Leo Lewis, but the Riders are allowing an average of 57.3 rushing yards per game.

Roberts realizes his accomplishment could get lost in the Classic madness.

"It's a side note, I guess," Roberts said. "But I'm not thinking about it a whole lot. Between now and the 18th game of the season I know I'll pick up 49 yards. So it's not something that's keeping me up at night."

HELLO, MR. BEAN: If corner Robert Bean looks as good in the game as he did upon arrival yesterday, the Bombers won't have any complaints.

Back in the lineup after missing six games with a knee injury, Bean turned heads with a three-piece, pinstriped suit and hat combo, and hopes to turn more today.

"It's great to be back," he said. "It's a big game to come back to. It was my first time last year. I really didn't know how big it was until I got here on the field. It's going to be bigger this year. I'm more prepared for it."

CAN THE HYPE: D-lineman Jerome Haywood is looking forward to his first taste of the rivalry. As for all this talk of a Grey Cup preview, though, he wants none of it.

"It's too early for that," he said. "It means nothing. Absolutely nothing. It's something the media will hype up, and the fans ... but it's a long season."

Haywood doesn't even see this game as a measuring stick for the Bombers.

"The only measuring stick game is the final game."

FOND MEMORIES: There's a myriad of players and coaches in this game who've worked for both teams, none more high profile than Bombers quarterback Kevin Glenn, a Rider the first three years of his career.

"There still is a place in my heart for Saskatchewan," Glenn said. "This is the team that brought me into the league. But I bleed blue now."

NFL WATCH: The Buffalo Bills released Bombers draft pick Corey Mace yesterday, but the defensive tackle may end up on their practice roster.

The Pittsburgh Steelers also cut loose quarterback Bryan Randall, who is on Winnipeg's negotiation list. Meanwhile, Bombers GM Brendan Taman said he'll "sniff around" when it comes to quarterback Casey Printers, whom the Kansas City Chiefs released yesterday.


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