Blink new rush king

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

REGINA -- Charles Roberts is the new Winnipeg Blue Bombers rushing king.

The man they call Blink had 16 carries for 83 yards in yesterday's 31-26 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the 41st Labour Day Classic, breaking Leo Lewis's 41-year-old franchise record of 8,861 yards.

The seven-year CFL veteran also leaped past Lewis and into seventh spot on the CFL's all-time rushing list.

Roberts needed only 49 yards to move past the Lincoln Locomotive, and he accomplished the feat with 3:34 left in the second quarter on a 13-yard run. It was part of Winnipeg's 109-yard touchdown drive that put them up 15-10.

Not that Roberts realized it at the time, however. He got hit hard on his one-handed, nine-yard reception earlier in the drive and was seeing stars.

"I was woozy for pretty much the rest of the game," Roberts said. "I took a big, bit shot.

"I know what my name is, but you can ask my teammates; my first couple of steps were like a DUI test. It was a big hit."

DIDN'T KNOW

Roberts claimed after the game that he didn't know he had broken the record. And even when he was informed that he was, in fact, the club's new rushing leader, he took a page from Milt Stegall's book.

The 28-year-old California native has said all along that he badly wanted the record, but yesterday he was concerned only about beating the Roughriders.

"When you're in the heat of battle like that on Labour Day, looking to go home with a win, there's a lot of factors going into my mind," Roberts said.

"I'm thinking about the win first off. Secondly I'm thinking about distance being put between us and Montreal. And then I'm thinking about taking the first game of a back-to-back. The record was way down the list."

The record-breaking ball is likely lost forever, too. Derick Armstrong caught a 25-yard touchdown pass on the play immediately after Roberts broke the record, and he threw the ball into the crowd when he got back to the bench.

Bombers head coach Doug Berry was also unaware that Roberts had officially broken the record.

"I thought he must have, but nobody was making any mention of it in this stadium," Berry said. "It certainly is (a good accomplishment), but I know we'd all rather be going home with a win and having him need 40 more yards, you know?"

LATE HITS: Stegall got a warm round of applause from the Rider faithful during a pre-game ceremony commemorating his CFL touchdown record. Former Riders running back George Reed, who shared the old record with Mike Pringle, took part as well ... Saskatchewan leads the Labour Day series 23-18 ... The fan of the day had to be the young man dressed up as the Golden Boy. He was painted gold from head to toe and was wearing only a gold-coloured Speedo ... Winnipeg defensive end Tom Canada reported no real nastiness from fans near the Bomber bench. "There was one guy," Canada said, "but I think he got too drunk towards halftime and couldn't talk anymore" ... Bomber draft pick Corey Mace, a defensive lineman, has been added to the Buffalo Bills' practice roster ... The Edmonton Eskimos have signed former Winnipeg receiver Quentin McCord.


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