Ellis has reputation of going all out

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:32 AM ET

Overshadowed by the kerfuffle over the on-again, off-again trade over the last two days was Winnipeg's signing of veteran Kai Ellis.

"He's the man," Blue Bombers defensive lineman Jerome Haywood said yesterday. "I like how he's intense and he plays balls to the wall."

Haywood played with the defensive end/linebacker in both Montreal and Ottawa.

"He's fast, he's strong, he's athletic," said Bomber offensive lineman Obby Khan, who also played with Ellis in Ottawa. "He's nuts ... He is the hardest-hitting middle linebacker in the league, next to (Winnipeg's) Barrin Simpson. Bar none. He's rung my bell a bunch of times. It's good to have him on our team."

Ellis, who will replace Tom Canada at defensive end, was released by Montreal just before its ninth game in an obvious salary-cap move.

"I really don't know what was going on in Montreal," said the 6-foot-3, 254-pound import. "It was the ninth game of the season and I don't know why you'd make a change in the middle of a season. I think everybody was a little bit shocked, as well as myself."

Ellis, 28, played for Bomber defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall in Ottawa so he is familiar with his type of defence.

"It is a fresh start and I'm really happy to play football again," Ellis said. "I'm going to be real anxious to hit somebody again."

STAYING COURSE: A second CFL coach got canned this week when Toronto's Rich Stubler got the pink slip yesterday. But that won't change Brendan Taman's mind about keeping Doug Berry aboard.

"We're going to stay the course," said the Bombers GM. "I believe in these guys and the coaches. They'll get it turned around. I'm not going to knee-jerk just because of what other teams are doing."

DON RETURNS: The Argos hired Don Matthews, Berry's mentor, to replace Stubler. And the Bombers play the Argos in Toronto this Friday.

"I understood that, when Don retired ... his physical condition was warranting it," Berry said. "As far as his coming back into the league right now, from a mental perspective, once you're a coach, you're always a coach. So, that doesn't surprise me at all -- because of his love of the game."

Berry apparently has not spoken to Matthews since giving his former coach the finger at the end of a game during his first season here.

"I think they want to get a face in there because they're scared of what the NFL's going to do (in Toronto)," suggested Bomber SB Milt Stegall. "They need a popular coach in there."

HASHMARKS: DB Kelly Malveaux has moved to strong-side LB to replace the injured Ike Charlton. Stanford Samuels will start at corner with CB Jovon Johnson moving inside ... Former Bomber P Jon Ryan has signed with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.


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