Canada stays Blue

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

Sports agent Paul Sheehy often goes the extra mile for his clients.

However, getting Tom Canada to sign the contract that would keep him with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, a three-year deal that the defensive end accepted yesterday, involved more miles than ever before.

Canada is backpacking and rafting "somewhere in South America," Sheehy said yesterday from Denver. That made getting his signature on the estimated $120,000-a-year deal a difficult task.

"We communicated only by e-mail, and once the agreement was done it was faxed over to me," Sheehy said. "I converted the document to a PDF form and e-mailed it to him.

"We're waiting for him to find a place -- I don't know if he's going to a ranger's station or where he's going -- to print it out and shoot it back to me. And I'll shoot it back to (Bomber GM) Brendan (Taman)."

Canada, 28, had to get the e-mail, print it, sign it and fax it back to Sheehy.

We're not sure how many Kinko's there are in the jungle, but Canada must have found one, because the contract was on its way to Taman's desk last night.

Neither the agent nor the GM even knew what country Canada was in yesterday, but the only thing that mattered to Taman is that the 6-foot-2, 260-pound fan favourite is on Winnipeg's roster for the next three seasons.

"It's big," Taman said.

Canada received more lucrative offers from two other clubs (one was believed to be Montreal), but the Bombers' 2007 defensive player of the year remained loyal to the club that resurrected his football career four years ago.

"They say loyalty is spelled with a dollar sign," Taman said, "but in Tom's case he sacrificed a little to come back. We're not paying him peanuts, mind you, and we were creative, but there's no doubt in my mind that he wants to be here."

SURVIVED

There was some belief that Canada, a free-spirited Californian who led the Bombers with 12 sacks last season, didn't want to return. According to Sheehy, however, "Through this whole process, Tommy has always said to me to do whatever we could do to get it done in Winnipeg."

Canada's return, along with the re-signing of offensive lineman Dan Goodspeed on Friday, means the Bombers have kept their top two free agents.

"Have we survived? Yeah, I think we've survived," Taman said. "One or two days into free agency, if you had said we'd get Canada and Goodspeed back I would've said 'Wow!'

"The best part is the numbers for both Tom and Dan aren't going to blow up the (salary) cap. It will still be a challenge, but luckily, in Tom's case, there's some major loyalty."

Taman stated last week that the Bombers had the most to lose this weekend, but so far they have re-signed four of their nine free agents and lost none.

"But that doesn't mean I'm sitting back," he said.

The biggest fish left to fry are offensive lineman Matt Sheridan and backup quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie, and Taman was still at his desk last night, furiously working the phones.


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