Ring the only prize for Franklin

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:23 AM ET

Call it the lure of the covered ring.

Arjei Franklin decided to stay in Winnipeg longer term with hopes of earning a Grey Cup jewel. The promising young slotback signed a contract extension that will keep him here through the 2009 season, the Blue Bombers announced yesterday.

It is believed the 5-foot-9, 190-pound University of Windsor product received a slight raise.

"I'm happy," said Franklin, 26, who married and moved into a new house in Windsor, Ont., last winter. "I looked at my position in Winnipeg and it's a good one. I've got an opportunity to play here and we've got a championship-calibre team so who wouldn't want to be part of an organization like this? I'm real happy to be here where a city embraces a team and it's good to be a part of it.

"When you have a championship-calibre team, you don't just pass it up for another $5,000. You want to stay to try to get that ring."

Franklin, who caught 36 passes for 452 yards in an injury-shortened season of 10 games, hopes to break the 1,000-yard barrier this year.

Bomber head coach Doug Berry was pleased.

"He really enjoys being here, which makes it a little easier to deal with," he said. "I enjoy having Arjei around. I like his talent level, I like his personality, I like the way he practises and I like the way he plays."

A FIND?: Import Jovon Johnson may prove to be a find for the Bombers yet. Once on the club's neg list, Bombers GM Brendan Taman snapped him when Saskatchewan released him and the 5-foot-9, 177-pound Iowa State product has been one of the most pleasant surprises in camp thus far (see Star of the Day).

"He's had a nice camp to this point and hopefully, he keeps showing up like this," Berry said.

"Playing last year (in Regina) really helped me understand the feeling of the game so, I kind of got the concept and I came here and learned the different terminology," said Johnson, 24.

Johnson, who also spent some time in Pittsburgh with QB Bryan Randall, expressed no bitterness towards the Roughriders, where he only played two CFL games.

"I'm not disappointed, that's just the way business is," said Johnson, who can run a 4.4-40 and returns kicks.

"I returned kicks in the NFL as well as in college," he said. "That's where I was at my best probably as a punt returner. I was second in the country behind Reggie Bush in college so, that's not too bad."

HASHMARKS: Promising WR Dan Sheldon, who sat out yesterday's sessions with a thigh bruise, is expected to practise today ... Bomber LB Ike Charlton will be a volunteer server during Tim Hortons Camp Day at the 255 Maryland St. location, tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.


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