Cup ring a touchy subject

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:21 AM ET

You won't catch Jovon Johnson flashing his new bauble around Bomberville these days.

After all, the starting cornerback when Winnipeg plays host to the Toronto Argonauts in their CFL regular-season opener at Canad Inns Stadium tonight earned his Grey Cup ring at the expense of his new team.

"Oh yeah, I got it already," the former Saskatchewan Roughrider said yesterday. "A couple of guys have seen it but it's one of those things where I don't want to be flashing it around the team and the organization because we played against Winnipeg (in last year's Grey Cup), and that wouldn't be right. It's not something I would want to throw in anybody's face."

Yet, it could be used as inspiration for his new teammates to earn their own Cup bling.

"That's the goal here," affirmed Johnson, who was actually on the Saskatchewan practice roster when the Riders won the Cup. "That's what my goal is and hopefully, I can help everybody get there. That's where we're headed. We're going to be a good team and everything will fall into place."

Johnson, 24, is one of several players making their Bomber debuts tonight. And he earned his way on to the starting roster because he picked off so many passes in training camp.

"That means that the coaches have a lot of confidence in me," said the 5-foot-9, 181-pound University of Iowa product. "Obviously, they believe in me and it's my job to go out there and do what I do."

Same goes for non-import receiver Aaron Hargreaves, who overcame an early training-camp injury to crack the roster.

"I'm definitely excited, obviously, and at this point, I'm just trying to prepare the best I can," said the 6-foot-5, 234-pound rookie. "I'm a little bit nervous, naturally, but I'm also excited and just have to prepare."

Hargreaves, who split time as a punter at Simon Fraser last year, will also be the backup to Alexis Serna tonight

"That's kind of ironic because that's how I got into football, originally," he said. "They (high school team) saw me kicking in P.E. class and asked me to come out. So, it's kind of ironic that here I am, the backup punter in my first CFL game."

Both of his parents and Hargreaves' girl friend have made the trip from B.C. to take in his first CFL game.

"The first thing I did when I made the team was to call my family and friends to let them know because they had supported me the whole way," said Hargreaves, 22.

Rookie linebacker Pierre-Luc Labbe is expecting his parents to watch him play when the Bombers play in Montreal next week.

Others making their Bomber regular-season debuts are guard Brendon LaBatte, offensive lineman Ryan Donnelly, slotback Romby Bryant, linebacker Anthony Maggiacomo, quarterback Bryan Randall and Serna.


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