Bombers won't loosen purse strings

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:36 AM ET

They arrived from the NFL with much fanfare about mid-season last year and both want to come back.

But both cornerback Juran Bolden and Ike Charlton will have to take a deep breath before returning to Winnipeg's training camp next month.

Charlton, who solved a problem at outside linebacker last year, demanded more money from the Blue Bombers as he headed out the locker-room door. Although Bombers GM Brendan Taman has inked other Bombers to contract extensions over the winter, Charlton may have to wait another season, thanks to the stringent salary cap.

"I'm not in a position to offer too many extensions," Taman said yesterday. "And he already has a built-in raise going into his option year. That's one thing I conceded when I signed him last year."

Although Charlton remains under contract because he is going into his option year, Taman will likely talk to his reps once again before the season starts.

Bolden, on the other hand, will have to accept a significant pay cut from his lucrative pact before he will be welcomed back.

"He wants to come back but he won't come back under his current contract, put it that way," Taman said.

JULY RETURN?: Taman also refuted rumours that centre Obby Khan will not be ready to return until mid-August. But then, he does not know for sure.

"He won't be ready for June 1st, that's for sure," Taman said, referring to the first day of training camp. "It will more likely be by the end of July. But he is making very good progress."

Khan went under the knife to have his large intestine removed last December.

That means Dominic Picard will come to camp as the starting centre but will be pushed by both Ryan Donnelly and Matt O'Meara.

"The backup, initially, would be Donnelly because he's been there and done that and he's good," Taman said of the former Hamilton Tiger-Cat signed as a free agent.

Donnelly can also play both guard and tackle.

Veteran guard Matt Sheridan can also play centre.

GM LAMENT: Taman, by the way, still is not completely convinced that Tee Martin could not have been a starting QB in Winnipeg under different circumstances.

"Did he have the receivers or the system we have in here now?" he asked after signing QBs Bryan Randall and Cleveland McCoy earlier this week. "If Kamau (Peterson) hadn't dropped that (touchdown) pass, maybe he's still here."

ROOKIE CAMP: Taman hopes to have 35 players at next week's rookie camp, including Randall and McCoy. Incumbent QB Kevin Glenn and backup Ryan Dinwiddie will also practise with the rookies.


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