'I sort of freaked out'

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:54 AM ET

The injury to the 'Minister of Defence' dealt a devastating blow to both the Winnipeg defence and his own season.

Blue Bombers middle linebacker Barrin Simpson suffered a torn pectoral tendon as the result of an aggressive tackle on Lions receiver Clarence Clemons in B.C. last Friday.

"That's the way I play -- aggressive," Simpson said without regret yesterday. "I had to chase him down over 40 yards so I wanted to make him pay for it.

"It was just one of those things. When I came down, I came down in a push-up position. That kind of force coming down from a tackle obviously put too much stress on my pectoral tendon and it snapped on me."

At first, he thought it was "a stinger."

"Then I sort of freaked out about it for a couple of seconds, thinking, 'What's going on?'" he said. "It was hurting bad. Then, once I got to the sidelines and got some ice on it, it stopped hurting and I was like, 'Can I go back in?' And they said, 'No,' and I was greatly disappointed then."

Simpson, who will have surgery to repair that tendon tomorrow, will not be back for at least nine games. It's the first time he has been sidelined due to an injury.

"It's foreign for me," said Simpson, 30. "I've never been in this situation where practice is boring where I can't do anything. But I'm upbeat about it. It's a matter of getting it taken care of so I can do what I can do and try to get back as soon as possible."

Rookie import Joe Lobendahn will replace him.

"I've been helping him out this week, making sure that he's not overwhelmed," Simpson said. "But Joe can play football. It's just a matter of getting him some on-the-job training right now during the speed of the game."

Bomber head coach Doug Berry also believes Lobendahn is capable.

"He's got a great intensity, he's got speed," he said. "He's got impact when he hits. He's a good zone dropper. He's smart ... The big thing when anyone who's new is fitting in and adjusting to what we are doing."

However, weak-side linebacker Cam Hall will call the defensive signals now.

FIRST START: With right guard Kyle Koch out with an ankle injury, Matt O'Meara will make his first start for the Bombers tomorrow.

"It feels pretty good," the 6-foot-5, 285-pound McMaster product said between signing autographs. "I am pretty excited, pretty anxious to get in there, yeah. For sure, I'm a little nervous. If you're not nervous in my situation, then that's not a good thing, so a little nerves is good."

But there is added pressure blocking for a quarterback in Ryan Dinwiddie making his first regular season start.

"There's always pressure but you've just got to respond," said O'Meara, 25.

CH-CHANGES: LB Ike Charlton (knee) practised yesterday and is expected to play tomorrow ... DB Greg Bearman (hamstring) will return to action, replacing LB Pierre-Luc Labbe (contusion) ... LB Marcus Winn will replace Simpson on the roster ... OL Obby Khan will replace Koch on the roster ... Bombers finally released P Duncan O'Mahony yesterday.


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