Water under bridge

Defensive back Stanford Samuels was released by the Eskimos on Monday. SUN MEDIA/Perry Mah

Defensive back Stanford Samuels was released by the Eskimos on Monday. SUN MEDIA/Perry Mah

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:51 AM ET

Stanford Samuels is back on the CFL market, and Winnipeg, believe it or not, is a possible destination for the defensive back.

The Edmonton Eskimos abruptly released the 27-year-old yesterday after only one season. Samuels spent his first two CFL campaigns in Winnipeg but left for Edmonton via free agency in February 2007.

His departure was acrimonious, to say the least, but Bombers GM Brendan Taman insisted yesterday that it's water under the bridge.

"I will do what's in the best interest of this team," Taman said. "The coaches like Stanford, so I will investigate."

Samuels, meanwhile, wants to come back to Winnipeg, where he had 10 knockdowns, five interceptions and two forced fumbles in 29 games during the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

"I would love to," Samuels said yesterday from Edmonton. "I didn't want to leave the team in the first place. I loved playing in coach (Greg) Marshall's defence. I loved playing in Winnipeg."

Samuels was all set to re-sign with the Bombers on Feb. 16, 2007, but at the last minute he accused Taman of offering a contract that didn't represent what they had agreed to.

The Florida State product bolted for the Eskimos the next day and appeared to burn every bridge on the way out of town.

"(Taman's) techniques, his tactics, his lack of respect for a quote-unquote family member is what opened that door (to sign in Edmonton)," Samuels told the Sun on Feb. 17, 2007. "... I really want this to be exposed because he's a snake, man!"

Time, it appears, has healed all wounds.

"How that all went down, it's done," Samuels said. "It's over with."

"I can put that behind me," Taman said. "I will do what's best for this team, not what's best for me."

Samuels is on waivers for 48 hours, which means if a team claims him before tomorrow it would have to assume his current contract. That deal is believed to be worth $85,000 this season.

There's a good chance that Samuels, who suffered through an injury-plagued 2007 campaign, won't get plucked off waivers and will be staring at a pay cut. That's something he might be prepared to accept.

"Maybe $20,000 or $30,000 is not worth that feeling of winning," he said.

Taman, however, said the return of Samuels would greatly impact the Bombers' starting secondary.

"He will not come without somebody leaving the premises," he said.

As for Samuels' surprising release, word out of Edmonton is that he was not happy after the team cut another former Bomber, defensive tackle Ron Warner, last week.

Samuels admitted his release "might have had something to do with a conversation" he had over the weekend with Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia regarding Warner.


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