Attack victim plans to suit up next season

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

Graeme Bell plans to be back on the football field for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers next season.

The 26-year-old running back suffered a serious head injury in May after being attacked by a bat-wielding thug in his hometown of Saskatoon, but he reported yesterday that he will be good to go in 2008.

"I'm totally recovered. It's just my skull's not healed," said Bell, who is in Winnipeg this weekend for the first time since the attack. "It takes four to six months for your skull to heal. Next year I'll be back -- no tests or anything."

Bell suffered from severe post-concussion symptoms after the attack, including fatigue after simple physical activities as well as speech problems. Those obstacles have been cleared, and he has resumed working out.

"I'm in better shape than I was at the start of the year," he said. "... There's 10 months before I play again, so we've got everything determined to be back on the field for next year."

BLINK BOULEVARD? Bombers tailback Charles Roberts will be feted before today's game for becoming the club's all-time rushing leader.

And since Milt Stegall will have Arena Road renamed in his honour for breaking the CFL's touchdown record, Roberts was asked if he wouldn't mind having a street named after him as well.

"Portage Avenue, yeah, that would be good," Roberts said with a smile. "The Trans-Canada (Highway) maybe."

Roberts passed Leo Lewis last weekend and now has 8,896 career yards, good for seventh on the CFL's all-time list.

SAM I AM: Recently arrived strong-side (SAM) linebacker Ike Charlton figures the Bomber defence will revolve around him once again.

"The main reason I wanted to get back here because I knew that position makes the defence go, which a lot of people don't realize," said Charlton, who has trimmed to 206 from 212 pounds.

"Last year, we had the attitude on defence that, 'We're going to dominate you.' We kind of got down a little bit this year because we were struggling a little bit. So we've got to come back again and get confident, get guys to pick up their play because once they pick up their play, man, we can move from there."

Charlton, by the way, still needs daily attention to the pair of hamstring pulls that he suffered in the Detroit Lions camp. Charlton also played with Kerry Joseph in Seattle and remains friends with the Saskatchewan QB, who was a safety in the NFL.

QUOTABLE: "It's very disappointing what I've done up to this point in the season, but it's history and all that matters is (today)."

-- Bombers placekicker Troy Westwood, who returns today from injury, on his forgettable first half of the season.


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