Silent but deadly

Terrence Edwards (left) talks with Romby Bryant during Bomber practice last month. (SUN MEDIA/Jason...

Terrence Edwards (left) talks with Romby Bryant during Bomber practice last month. (SUN MEDIA/Jason Halstead)

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:19 AM ET

Romby Bryant has been difficult to catch this season, both on and off the field.

The first-year Winnipeg Blue Bombers slotback has a team-leading 999 receiving yards, which means he should crack the 1,000-yard mark during tonight's crucial clash against the Toronto Argonauts at Canad Inns Stadium (6:30 p.m.).

The last time a first-year CFL receiver surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in a Bomber uniform was 22 years ago, when Perry Tuttle had 1,373 yards.

Bryant, who granted a rare interview yesterday, didn't know he had 999 yards until fellow receiver Terrence Edwards informed him of it the other day.

"I didn't have any expectations at all this season," said Bryant, who doesn't qualify as a CFL rookie thanks to two career NFL games in 2005. "I didn't think I'd pick up this game that quick and have a successful season like I have. I'm happy with it, but I'd much rather be winning a lot more than this."

The Bombers, despite a dismal 5-9 record, can essentially wrap up second place in the East Division with a win tonight, because they would be four points up on the Argos (4-10) and own the tiebreaker. If the Argos lose tonight, they would have to win their remaining three games and hope the Bombers drop their final three to sneak into second.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats (3-11) are mathematically still in the picture, but that's about it.

To get the all-important victory tonight the Bombers will be looking to Bryant, who recoiled at the notion that he, as the squad's leading receiver, has to lead it into the playoffs.

"That can switch (tonight)," he said of being the team's top pass catcher. "Derick (Armstrong) is not that far behind me. He's like 900-and-something (900), and Terrence is at 800-and-something (825).

"We've been spreading the ball around. I've just been fortunate enough to have those big plays. That's what kept me up there."

Receivers coach Bob Dyce said finding the right matchups has helped Bryant haul in three touchdowns that were 74 yards or longer, but it's his most distinguishable talent that gets him the highlight-reel scores.

"Every one of our guys has a different skill," Dyce said, "and Romby, as you can tell, is one of the fastest receivers you're going to see in the league."

He's just as quick off the field, as he is often showered and gone after games before the media even invades the locker-room. You could count the number of interviews he has granted this season on one finger. Quarterback Kevin Glenn joked that someone should take a picture of the one he did yesterday.

Bryant, a 28-year-old Oklahoma City native who spent the past two seasons on the Baltimore Ravens practice roster, simply doesn't want the attention. His elusiveness has made it difficult for fans to get to know him (he loves music and movies), but his fellow receivers are big fans.

"Romby is like Dr. Jekyll and My. Hyde," Edwards said. "He's very cool off the field, but when he's on the field it's another person. He means business. One thing I like about him is he's got his teammates' backs.

"It's evident from the fine and the ejection that he got (against Edmonton two weeks ago). You respect a player like that."

Dyce said Bryant shook off a mild mid-season case of the dropsies thanks to his impressive work ethic, and he added that, whether he wants the attention or not, he is going to be needed down the stretch.

"I don't see a letdown with a guy like him," Dyce said. "He just goes and goes and keeps himself in good shape. He's going to be an integral part as we push through to the playoffs."


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