'Should have never left'

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:11 AM ET

Stanford Samuels and Brendan Taman probably didn't hug it out, but all is well between player and GM.

That means Samuels can now concentrate on getting his CFL career back on track with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the team he says he never should have left 17 months ago.

"There's nothing like being a part of this unit, being a part of this team, being a part of this organization," the import defensive back said after his first practice. "It's all I knew of the CFL, so it feels like home."

Samuels, who is a favourite of defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall, rejoined the struggling Bombers (0-4) on Saturday and might start Thursday when they host the Calgary Stampeders (3-1). He was at Kelly Malveaux's halfback spot yesterday because Malveaux was playing outside linebacker in place of Ike Charlton, who is questionable for Thursday's tilt with a knee injury.

"Nothing's set in stone," Samuels said.

That is definitely true, because many would have said it was set in stone that Samuels would never play for the Bombers again after what happened in February 2007.

Samuels was a free agent at the time and was prepared to re-sign with the Blue and Gold, but on the day free agency started Samuels changed his tune, saying Taman had altered details in a contract they had verbally agreed upon.

So Samuels bolted for the Edmonton Eskimos and called Taman a snake as a parting gift.

Taman told the Sun last month that he would always do what's best for the team and put any personal differences aside. Samuels said they had a good chat last week when they agreed to a new deal.

"We had a conversation over the phone, so we got a chance to crack that egg then," Samuels said. "This morning it was more so just reaffirming and looking each other in the eye and being able to see the sincerity that was being said."

Samuels, who will turn 28 on Sunday, was a superb member of a bad Bomber defence in 2005 but played only 12 games in 2006. He had five interceptions, 10 pass knockdowns and two blocked punts during his two seasons in Winnipeg.

His Edmonton adventure was one to forget. He had only one pick and dealt with two concussions and an ankle injury. He got hurt again at training camp this year, and he apparently vocalized his displeasure over Ron Warner's release in the locker-room.

That led to his release, although Esks head coach Danny Maciocia basically said Samuels wasn't the same player anymore.

"If he was hurt and we felt like he was one of the top five or six performers in his position, then we might have kept him," Maciocia told Sun Media last month.

So now Samuels is back in Winnipeg playing for about $25,000 less than what he could have signed for last February.

"I'm pretty sure everyone involved would've done things differently," Samuels said. "I definitely would have done things differently if I had another opportunity. I should have never left. I'd be willing to say that.

"I'm ready to move forward. I'm glad I'm here. I'm looking forward to starting back up. I've got (jersey number) 16 back on, which looks great on me I must say."


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