Obby's latest hurdle

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:42 AM ET

Obby Khan was trying so hard to be politically correct, at first, that his canines must have seared right through his bloodied tongue.

But the veteran offensive lineman still left no doubt about how he felt after the Blue Bombers brought veteran guard Bobby Singh to town yesterday.

Khan, for those of you with short memories, has been trying to get his starting job back after having his large intestine removed during the off-season. And it was just a couple of weeks ago that he declared himself ready to return for a second time after backing up for a few games earlier this year.

But with both guards Kyle Koch and Matt Sheridan moved to the nine-game injured list, Winnipeg signed Singh to a practice roster spot, leaving Khan's return more unlikely.

"It's very tough," Khan admitted. "I mean we're all competitors, we're all athletes out here. If you are not upset by not playing, you shouldn't be here. I mean, if they take a rep away from ya, a game away from ya, you should be pissed off. But you use that anger towards getting better.

"So of course I'm upset. I'm frustrated but they're making decisions that they think are best for the team and I take that time off and I hit the gym and I run and I work out ... I'll keep working out and I'll keep waiting for my time and when they call me, I'll be ready to go."

Khan, who played at 295 pounds two years ago, is up to 290.

"I'll just keep working and hoping I'll get better in practice and hope I work my way into a game," resigned Khan, 27. "It's been a while since I played so I understand they have some concerns.

"I feel I'm ready. When you're a competitor at this level, if you don't think you're ready, you're going to get your rear end handed to you. I'm confident ... I feel great, the best I've felt in years. I'm as strong as I was two years ago, I'm leaner ... My conditioning's good. It's just a matter of me getting into a game and seeing real-time stuff happening in front of you. My reads are a little slow but they'll come right back."

Singh, who played for the Calgary Stampeders last year, sympathized with Khan, whom he has known since their college days.

"I'm not really replacing him," insisted the 6-foot-4, 323-pound Portland State product.

"It's me just coming in here to play and get back into the swing of things so, it's not about taking anybody's job. It's getting the opportunity.

"It's part of the business. I've been axed before, too, so I hope there's no sour grapes."

Singh, 32, added that Khan actually helped him during yesterday's practice.

Bomber head coach Doug Berry was non-committal when asked the plans for Singh and if he will play this Friday when Winnipeg plays host to the Edmonton Eskimos.

"I have no idea of what kind of shape he's in or what kind of learner he is but we'll get him in there (at practice)," he said.

"We've got time ... He's a guy who has a lot of experience and we'll see how it goes.

"We're going into the last six games and you never know about the health of offensive linemen. We had the opportunity to get him in here and have him learn the system. If he develops to the point to where we think he's better than what we've got, then we make that decision. If we don't get to that point, then we're very happy with what we have."

Even if Singh sits this week, it is unlikely that the Bombers have brought him in to just to watch the rest of the way.


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