Armstead seizing day

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:25 PM ET

There is no doubting Jason Armstead's self-assurance.

The tattoo down one of the new kick returner's calves reads: "Speed" with "Kills" down the other.

That confidence and quickness could be just what the doctor ordered for the languishing 1-6 Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Armstead, 28, officially signed a CFL contract and practised with his new club yesterday.

"I liked what I saw of him," said Bomber head coach Doug Berry. "I met with him (Monday) night and one of the most impressive things about him was his character. Certainly, he's going to fit in with this football team. Then, going out and seeing him on the field (yesterday) was real exciting to see what he can bring with his speed and his quickness."

Berry, of course, is hoping the proven speedster can spark his team's listless return game and confirmed that Armstead will be running back kicks when Winnipeg plays host to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats tomorrow night.

"It's good to be back in it," Armstead said. "I just want to get in and help wherever I can."

Coming into this season, Armstead had returned 255 punts for 2,282 yards (9.7-yard average) and three touchdowns; 155 kickoffs for 2,905 yards (18.7); and 12 missed field goals for 428 yards (35.7) while playing for three previous teams -- Hamilton, Saskatchewan and Ottawa.

However, those numbers were down in four games with Montreal this season. And his days with the Als ended badly. First, he fumbled a kickoff return late in a close game with Saskatchewan. Then, he inexplicably took a knee with no one around him on the next return. Montreal promptly sent him packing after that loss.

"At the time, the way things ended in Montreal, after that, it was a life-changing experience so I knew on just faith alone and ability-wise that I would get another call," said the 5-foot-10, 160-pound Mississippi product. "At the same time, I wouldn't have missed it if I hadn't gotten the call.

"I'm very thankful for the opportunity that I have so I will seize it and move forward with it."

Armstead was also one of the CFL's most dangerous receivers when he played for both Saskatchewan and the now-defunct Renegades.

Yet, Armstead was contemplating his future beyond football when Bombers GM Brendan Taman called him during his mother's birthday celebration.

"At the time, I had just pretty much settled into my new house (Moss Point, Miss.) and I had put in a few applications to sell cars," he said. "But, in the back of my mind, I was questioning, 'Do I want to play? Do I want to go ahead and go forward with my life?'"

Armstead was welcomed by such ex-Renegades teammates as Jerome Haywood and Greg Bearman.

"You go across the board and I pretty much have a past relationship with a lot of these guys," said Armstead. "I'm hoping to make this my home."


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