Bomber help arrives

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

The smiles were big, the laughs were loud, and the buzz was palpable.

To say the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are giddy after the re-signings of cornerback Juran Bolden and strong-side linebacker Ike Charlton would be an understatement.

Perhaps the reason why the Blue and Gold seemed more confident on the practice field yesterday is because their two new arrivals have confidence oozing out of their pores.

"I'm a very cocky guy," said Bolden, back after five seasons in the NFL. "I'm a dominant guy. I know I can make plays. I can change a ball game, I can win ball games.

"That's what I'm supposed to do. That's why they brought me back up here."

Charlton, though not as flamboyant as the 6-foot-3 Bolden, was exhibiting plenty of assertiveness.

"I hope Saskatchewan tests me," he said, "because I'm going to make them pay for it."

Head coach Doug Berry confirmed both Bolden and Charlton will be in the lineup against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday at Canad Inns Stadium in the fourth annual Banjo Bowl.

"I can't sit out," Charlton said. "It's the Banjo Bowl, and we gotta get this one. Even though we're in first place and they're in a different division, we want to keep Montreal down and keep Toronto down."

"I gotta get picks, man," Bolden said. "Picks make the crowd get more excited about me. So I'm out here ready to get things going. My intention is to get out here and compete, get a starting job and play Sunday."

The Riders (7-2) edged the Bombers (5-3-1) in last Sunday's Labour Day Classic in Regina, 31-26, and it was evident on Saskatchewan's winning drive that the Winnipeg defence needed help.

That help has arrived, although no one knows what effect Bolden, 33, and Charlton, 29, will have.

"We'll find out Sunday, won't we," Berry said.

HAPPY TO BE HOME: Charlton wasn't feeling the love from the Bombers earlier this year when he was a CFL free agent, but any resentment he had is long gone.

Even though Charlton finished second on the team with 60 tackles last season, the Bombers didn't seem to be in a hurry to re-sign him. Part of that was because he seemed destined to end up in the NFL, which he eventually did with the Detroit Lions.

The Lions, however, put Charlton on injured-reserve last week after he strained both hamstrings on one play against the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 25, and he negotiated his way out of his contract so he could return to the Blue and Gold.

"I like the Canadian Football League because they pay you on the other 'p' -- production -- as opposed to the NFL, where they pay you on potential," Charlton said. "I proved that I could play, so I felt I should get treated that way.

"Early on, I didn't think they were doing that here, and it kind of upset me."

Charlton is now getting what he feels he is worth from the Bombers, and he couldn't be happier to be reunited with defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall.

"I want to play," he said. "I could've sat out and waited for some other (NFL) teams to call me or somebody to get hurt, but I just didn't want to deal with that. I want to play football."

LATE HITS: It appears rookie Cam Hall, who is being replaced by Charlton, will move from strong-side to weak-side linebacker. That means Corey Jenkins will likely sit out this week. "Cam catches on real quickly," Berry said. "His knowledge to be able to play there would be, to me, instantaneous." ... Bolden will replace Robert Bean at the weak-side cornerback spot. Bean, however, won't necessarily move across the field to the other corner position, as Greg Moss remains in the running to hold on to his starting role ... All the Banjo Bowl tickets have been sold, giving the Bombers their fifth consecutive sellout to start the season. The club actually found more seats, because 29,783 have been snapped up instead of the usual sellout of 29,533.


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