Winnipeg, B.C. trade talk not new

KIRK PENTON

, Last Updated: 8:16 AM ET

The Bombers and Lions started talking trade back in training camp, but it had nothing to do with Charles Roberts or Joe Smith.

It just goes to show you how quickly things can change in pro sports as the losses mount.

The first trade proposition, initiated by the Lions, was actually a one-for-one deal featuring Canadian talent that the Bombers declined.

The Bombers then gave an emphatic no last month to B.C.'s offer of Smith for Winnipeg import slotback Romby Bryant, who had burst on to the scene in his first CFL season.

What the Smith-for-Bryant trade talk did do, however, was plant a seed in the brain of Bomber GM Brendan Taman, who knew that head coach Doug Berry had always wanted a big running back.

So when Berry told Taman on Sunday that something needed to be done, the Bomber GM called Neil McEvoy, the Lions' player personnel co-ordinator and assistant to the GM, and got the ball rolling.

All the Lions wanted was for the Bombers to pay Roberts a league-approved bonus (he hasn't yet reached) that the Leos didn't want counting against their cap. Taman obliged, likely because it's believed the Lions have already paid Smith $125,000 of the $150,000 wage he will make this season. (Smith, by the way, signed a three-year contract in February).

Then came the hard part: Taman had to tell Roberts that he would not be finishing his career in Winnipeg.

"I explained to Charlie what we're doing is both helping him and helping us," Taman said. "He understood that and was really good. He was surprised, somewhat hurt, probably. He understood he needed a breath of fresh air."

PROBLEM FIXED?: Even though two of the CFL's top running backs got traded for each other yesterday, many Bomber fans still feel that the real problem on offence lies with quarterback Kevin Glenn.

"Kevin knows what he needs to improve on, just like everybody else," Taman said. "He needs to get help. The receivers need to help him, the back needs to help him, and the O-line needs to help him. And he needs to help himself."

JOE WHO?: Don't try to Google Joe Smith, because it won't work.

CFL fans are well aware of the Louisiana native's eccentric nature, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that he doesn't communicate like the rest of us. The man who led the CFL with 19 touchdowns and 1,510 yards last season doesn't own a phone.

The Bombers said yesterday that Smith, 29, talks to people through his lap top and that they hope he will be at practice today when the Bombers begin preparations for Sunday's Banjo Bowl rematch against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

They have, however, made contact with him and are glad to hear that he's ready to wear Blue and Gold.

"He's looking forward to getting a change and being the guy again," Taman said. "He's excited to be here.

"... We're hoping this is a spark for our offence. That's what I expect to see."

NEW BLOOD: The Bombers have officially signed quarterback Timmy Chang, who was let go by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last week.

"We always were going to bring in a fourth quarterback," Taman said. "Timmy Chang is a guy I've always liked, and he's got experience, and he knows the league."


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