Bolden on Bombers' radar

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:10 AM ET

An impact player may finally decide to return to Winnipeg.

Renewed talks with former Blue Bombers defensive back Juran Bolden have been heating up lately as Winnipeg desperately needs help in its secondary.

"I talked to his agent on Friday and again (yesterday)," Bombers GM Brendan Taman said yesterday. "Time's ticking, although he might be waiting until December to decide."

Released

Bolden was released by Tampa Bay quite awhile ago and no other NFL team has picked him up since. Bolden, 33, was a key ingredient to the Bombers when they went to the 2001 Grey Cup. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound import then returned to the NFL, where he had been playing since 2002.

The Bombers are currently sixth in the CFL in pass defence. Whether Bolden finally returns or not, expect some new defensive backs and linebackers in camp when CFL practice rosters expand by five players on Monday.

"With the NFL cutdown period being right now, there are certainly going to be some guys come available to us and anybody else," said Bombers head coach Doug Berry. "If you're going to make any changes, the next two or three-week period would be the time to do it because you'd want your team to be pretty well-established going into the last third of the season."

TRACKING QBS: Bryan Randall is one of four quarterbacks on the Bombers negotiation list that Taman plans to track down.

"But the quarterback situation is not as big a need as other spots," Taman said. "We're running low on DBs and our (outside) linebackers aren't that experienced."

Taman also plans to contact the agent representing free-agent QB Casey Printers.

"I have not talked to him or his rep yet but I plan to," Taman said. "But some other teams have a bigger need at quarterback than us."

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats, for one, are apparently prepared to open the vault for Printers, who was recently released by Kansas City.

MILT AILING: Although veteran slotback Milt Stegall suffered a shoulder injury during Sunday's loss to Saskatchewan, he is apparently OK.

"Milt's got a shoulder muscle that's a little (bothersome) but he'll practise and we should be full-go," Berry said.

The Bombers, who were off the last two days, return to practise today at 1 p.m.

TROY TO RETURN?: Although placekicker Troy Westwood has been cleared to practise, Berry wants him to test his leg before confirming his return in this Sunday's Banjo Bowl. If he does return, Westwood will stick to field goals and kickoffs while Rob Pikula will continue to punt.

Berry is also tinkering with making backup tailback Fred Reid the main man on kickoff returns. However, Reid will not replace Albert Johnson III on the team's pathetic punt return team.

"Fred is not an experienced punt returner so, that's a dangerous thing to toy with," Berry said.

NO ROUGE: Speaking of special teams, Berry was asked why Pikula was not instructed to try to punt for a single point to give Winnipeg a three-point margin late in Sunday's game.

"The whole idea was to pin them down in there and get the ball punted out of bounds inside the 20-yard line," he responded. "We'd been playing somewhat OK on defence in the second half and felt like we could contain them down in there if we punted the ball decently.

"We had them at the 19-yard line and they had a long, long way to go into the wind and were able to be very successful in what they did."

They wound up scoring the winning touchdown as the Winnipeg defence disappeared.

-- With files from Kirk Penton


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