Blink wears Berry down on returns

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:17 AM ET

The Blue Bombers plan to put their 'Blink-er' on punt returns.

Tailback Charles Roberts will start returning the odd punt, Winnipeg head coach Doug Berry disclosed yesterday.

Roberts has been bugging Berry to let him return punts for three years.

"It's something that I think he can be good at because of his elusiveness," Berry said. "He's done it in the past and he's done it at this level so, maybe we can sprinkle him in here or there. He's not going to be our primary punt returner but he will be able to go back and give a different flavour when he does go back."

Roberts, who holds the club's rookie record for most return yardage, is currently seventh on the all-time Bomber list. However, he has become so afraid of what he might say to fans through the media that he declined interviews once again yesterday.

Roberts, Jovon Johnson and Arjei Franklin will replace Fred Reid on punt returns.

"He's not real comfortable in his punt returns and I think this is going to make him a better football player, rather than have the burden of trying to have to deal with learning to be a good punt returner," Berry said. "Fred has been very good at pressuring the punter; he's been good at blocking on the punt returning so, we're getting him back to doing the things that we know he does really well."

NO MILT: It does not look like veteran slotback Milt Stegall (knee) will be able to return to action when Winnipeg plays host to the B.C. Lions this Friday. Although in uniform, Stegall did not practise yesterday.

"I just don't think that he's going to be ready to go this week," Berry said.

Also unlikely to return is OL Matt Sheridan (hamstring) while both DB Greg Bearman and DL Jon Oosterhuis will miss the match. OL Alexandre Gauthier, however, is expected to play.

Although WR Kerry Johnson missed practice to get a wisdom tooth pulled, that should not keep him out of the lineup.

LABBE LEADING: Don't look now but rookie Bomber LB Pierre-Luc Labbe leads the entire CFL in special teams tackles with six.

"I don't really care about the statistics, I just want to win," said the 6-foot-2, 229-pound Sherbrooke product. "I'm on special teams so I will give it all I have. If we win, it's good for us.

"I can be better. I made some mistakes and I want to work on that and make sure that I don't repeat the same mistakes the next few games. I just want to continue working on that."


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