Franklin mint

Blue Bomber Arjei Franklin at team practice. Sun Photo - Chris Porcaylo

Blue Bomber Arjei Franklin at team practice. Sun Photo - Chris Porcaylo

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

Say hello to Arjei Franklin, who feels like he officially arrived in the CFL last Sunday afternoon.

His goal now is to not only keep his foot in the door, but to smash it off its hinges.

The second-year Winnipeg Blue Bomber slotback caught five passes for 88 yards -- both career highs -- in his team's 31-26 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in last weekend's Labour Day Classic.

"It was huge. It was a long time coming, that's for sure," Franklin said. "It is a relief to know that I was able to put up those kind of numbers."

The receiving yards were the most for a non-import Bomber receiver since Kamau Peterson hauled in three passes for 93 yards on Aug. 1, 2005.

"That's a special feeling," Franklin said, "but the truth of the matter is we didn't get the win, so it doesn't make it as special. ... That was last week, and I gotta do it again this week. What I did last week doesn't really matter if you don't come back and do something good again.

"I've got a lot of work to do still. I'm the youngest and the least experienced on the offence, and I do need to keep going."

The speedy Franklin, who was Winnipeg's third-round draft pick in 2006, made 16 catches for 161 yards in spot duty last season. In three games this year, the Windsor, Ont., product has produced nine catches for 126 yards.

He got hurt during training camp and, despite returning to health, didn't get back in the lineup until after fellow Canadian receiver Jamie Stoddard got hurt on Aug. 3 in Hamilton.

Since the Bombers also needed to start another Canuck after the Hamilton game due to defensive troubles that affected the ratio, Franklin was running routes the following week in B.C.

He made four grabs for 38 yards against the Lions -- also career highs at the time -- before breaking out last week. Quarterback Kevin Glenn's passes stuck to Franklin like glue at Mosaic Stadium, and he racked up many of his yards after the catch.

"I call him 'The Black Ben Cahoon,' but he's a whole lot faster than Ben Cahoon," slotback Milt Stegall said. "You can see it once he catches the ball. But he's a great guy, he runs great routes, and he deserves everything he gets."

Franklin has replaced Chris Brazzell in the starting lineup, and the receiving corps hasn't missed a beat.

"We felt like we weren't going to take a drastic step backwards with him in there," head coach Doug Berry said. "In fact, we haven't at all."

"He held up his end and more, and made some big catches in that game -- not just in terms of distance, but even in critical situations he came up with some nice balls."

As Franklin noted, he must do it again tomorrow afternoon in the fourth annual Banjo Bowl rematch against the Roughriders.

"I'm really looking forward to this week," he said. "I'm going to feel a little bit more comfortable after what happened last week. I'm going to use that as motivation and confidence."

And maybe -- just maybe -- he'll get another monkey off his back at the same time.

"I still gotta get that touchdown," he said.


Videos

Photos