Kelly is Mr. Versatility

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

Never before has Kelly Malveaux looked so forward to hanging the "do not disturb" sign on his doorknob.

Thanks to a brand-new baby girl at home, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive back has been seeing 4 a.m. a lot lately. That's why a road trip to Hamilton, during which the Bombers (6-3-1) will meet the Tiger-Cats (1-9) tomorrow night, has never looked so inviting.

"The only time I get really good sleep is on the road," Malveaux said.

And while it appears Bombers fans have been seeing too much of something else this season -- Malveaux's No. 27 uniform, with dreadlocks flapping, chasing receivers after they've made a big catch -- it should not be cause for concern.

They are anomalies, according to his secondary coach and his head coach, and their opinions are the only ones that matter.

"He's underrated right now because we have him doing so much," secondary coach Corey Chamblin said. "He's that guy that plugs holes for us, and he controls everything out there."

Chamblin, in fact, said there may be no one more valuable than Malveaux. The 30-year-old has played both halfback positions, a little bit of strong-side linebacker and a role that essentially equates to a second safety in certain defensive packages.

"Kelly Malveaux, to me, is the ultimate pro," Chamblin said. "Because if something happens ... and a guy goes down, the first name I pull out is Kelly Malveaux. Middle linebacker? Kelly Malveaux. Free safety? Kelly Malveaux.

"He knows the defence, and he'll step in there and he does his best. I hear people saying, 'Kelly's this' and 'Kelly's that.' Kelly is playing defence for us. He's playing a lot of positions, and he's learned just as much as I have in a short period of time."

Malveaux has been disappointed in his play only once this season, and that was in Winnipeg's 43-22 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in early August. He was the closest DB on two of Hamilton's three passing touchdowns, but only one of the scores was his fault.

Other than that, Chamblin noted, Malveaux is the man.

"If you see one catch on him, they've probably thrown 30 and on the other 29 he did what he was supposed to," Chamblin said. "He doesn't take the practice reps at these positions. We just say 'Kelly, go there.' He gets called on a lot. He's that type of player."

Being Mr. Versatility can be a tough gig when you have so much going on at home. His wife, Sharrell, gave birth to a baby girl on Aug. 21, and Sharrell has been in and out of the hospital since.

Sharrell is fine now, but Malveaux had 31/2 hours of sleep before last Sunday's Banjo Bowl. He said sleep deprivation has been his biggest hurdle this season.

"It was playing a big factor, being at home with the kids," Malveaux said. "As a professional athlete, coaches and people care, but they really don't want to hear about it ...

"It's all about performing on the field, and they don't care. I won't say they don't care, but that's not their huge concern. It's about wins and losses when it comes to the end of the day."

With Malveaux in the lineup, sleep-deprived or not, the Bombers believe they can do more winning than losing.

"If you want to see how it's done, put Kelly there," Chamblin said. "Kelly will show you how it's done."


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