New draft has impact on Bombers

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

Nobody knows how long this new football league will last, but it's already had an impact on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The All American Football Conference held its inaugural player draft on the weekend, and two members of the 2007 Bombers were selected.

Third-string quarterback Kliff Kingsbury and little-used receiver Kerry Johnson were taken by Tennessee and Alabama, respectively, and could suit up when the league begins a spring schedule this April.

Johnson was a free agent after finishing the season on the Winnipeg practice roster, but Kingsbury was still under contract.

The new league says it's honouring CFL deals, but the Bombers have agreed to release Kingsbury, giving him an opportunity to play.

"When guys have options, you can't blame 'em," GM Brendan Taman said.

Quarterback Bryan Randall, on Winnipeg's negotiation list and coveted by Taman for a couple of years, was also a Tennessee pick, taken second overall, meaning he's no closer to trying the CFL.

"It sets back a bit of our opportunity to sign him right away," Taman said.

Other players with CFL backgrounds who'll try their luck in the new loop include quarterbacks Eric Crouch (Toronto last season), Kevin Eakin (Hamilton) and former Bomber Tee Martin.

The league is trying to capitalize on old college rivalries, bringing former stars back to the regions in which they're known.

It's planning a 10-game season from April through June.

SUPER-DAVE SWEEPS: While Toronto and Calgary have made serious offers, the Bombers are only halfheartedly pursuing veteran quarterback Dave Dickenson.

"In all honesty I don't think we're going to be able to get into that," Taman said.

Already facing a salary crunch, the Bombers, with Kevin Glenn as their starter, can't afford to have a backup earn the kind of money Dickenson may still command.

Their only other quarterback, Ryan Dinwiddie, is set to become a free agent next month, although he's expressed his desire to sign a new deal.


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