Bolden burned by cap

KEN WIEBE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:39 AM ET

Juran Bolden's days in Blue and Gold officially came to an end yesterday.

Whether the veteran defensive back is done with football entirely -- or at least done with the CFL -- remains an open question.

In what general manager Brendan Taman admitted was a by-product of the salary cap, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers released Bolden, making him a free agent.

"I had a good long talk with him and the one thing I've learned over time is that Juran has matured a lot," said Taman. "He knows it's a business and it's the new world that we're living in. We were trying to avoid this from happening but we couldn't get to any type of agreement to make it work with our salary cap.

Taman didn't slam the door when the prospect of an offer being extended to Bolden -- should the need arise during the season -- was raised, but another return seems unlikely.

"We would have loved to have him in camp, but I didn't have any options," said Taman. "Sure, he did (want to negotiate) but to get to the level we needed to get to is almost a slap in his face to even offer that to him. He deserves what he earned last year and we weren't able to accommodate him.

"He was very good for our program at various points in the last few years. He's a Blue Bomber, through and through, there's not doubt about it."

Bolden, who could not be reached for comment, is reportedly garnering some interest from the NFL's Houston Texans, who might offer a tryout.

MOST LIKELY SCENARIO

The most likely CFL scenario would see Bolden sign with the Edmonton Eskimos, since director of player personnel Paul Jones is the guy who brought Bolden into the league with Winnipeg in 2000.

However, the Eskimos signed defensive back Jordan Younger during the off-season and they might have trouble fitting Bolden under the cap also.

Bolden, 33, played four NFL seasons before arriving on the scene with the Blue Bombers in 2000. He spent two seasons in Blue and Gold before getting another crack in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons, who had originally drafted him in the fourth round in 1996.

Bolden spent time with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2004) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2005, 2006) before rejoining the Blue Bombers late last season, helping solidify the defensive backs as the team reached the Grey Cup final.

Blue Bombers head coach Doug Berry understands the situation, but can't help but wonder if he'd seen the best of Bolden.

"I learned what a competitor he was and how important the game of football was," said Berry. "I really enjoyed his dedication and would have really enjoyed seeing him come back this year in a mode where he would be able to show me the best he has to offer."

ALS SIGN WARRICK: A day after the Toronto Argonauts announced the signing of former New England Patriots receiver Bethel Johnson, the Montreal Alouettes locked up the services of Peter Warrick, who played five NFL seasons.


Photos