Special teams demon in mix for safety spot

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:08 AM ET

Quite frankly, Jason Nugent was a disappointment when he first arrived here last year.

After acquiring him from Edmonton, the Blue Bombers planned to groom the promising Canadian youngster into a starting safety. But those plans went so far awry that Nugent eventually found himself on the Winnipeg sidelines contemplating his immediate future.

But he came back with both a vengeance and a mean streak that the Bombers were hoping to see when they first sent import defensive lineman Ron Warner to the Eskimos to get him.

"When I sat down, I definitely put the game into perspective after looking at it from the outside," Nugent said yesterday. "I came back a lot stronger and it gave me a special hunger, and I still have the hunger. That should definitely help me now."

Put it this way, Nugent became such a demon on special teams that the 6-foot, 215-pound Rutgers product set a Grey Cup record with five special teams tackles in a losing cause against Saskatchewan.

And capping off the year with such an impressive performance gives the Scarborough, Ont., product some added confidence as he battles fellow Canucks Ian Logan and Sebastian Clovis for that starting safety spot left vacant by the departed import Kyries Hebert this season.

"Yeah, I'm definitely confident," he said. "I'm trying to make a play. I'm hungry for the ball and trying to get the ball into my hands and if it's not in my hands, then I definitely want to put my hat on somebody because I definitely want to hit people."

Bomber head coach Doug Berry is hoping a Canadian can start at either safety or corner, which would allow more flexibility on offence. But he will get a better idea of who is leading what race after the first exhibition game next week.

HURTING: Import WR Abraham Morlu suffered a dislocated pinkie during yesterday's camp ... A number of others were sitting on the sidelines with unidentified hurts, including DL Doug Brown, DE Jon Oosterhuis, CB Robert Bean, DB Art Thomas, SB Aaron Hargreaves and DB Jovon Johnson came up limping late in the afternoon session ... Berry says he is only concerned about longer-term injuries.

HASHMARKS: QB Kevin Glenn will join LB Ike Charlton serving at the 255 Maryland St. Tim Hortons for its Camp Day today at 2:30 p.m. ... Former Bomber DB Chijioke Onyenegecha was released by Montreal after failing to pass his medical there ... U of M product Justin Cooper, a DL, may have suffered a broken knuckle after being involved in fisticuffs with OL Torrin Tucker in Edmonton on Monday.


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