Brown keeps it real

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:25 AM ET

It was an omen, as Doug Brown recalls it.

The Blue Bomber defensive lineman showed up for last year's CFL player awards show, all spiffed up in a tux and shiny shoes, only to find he didn't have a seat.

Somehow, somebody had overlooked the 6-foot-8, 290-pounder, a finalist for the CFL's Most Outstanding Canadian Award, that night in Toronto.

Adding insult to injury, Brown was beaten like an old rug for the award (37 votes to 12) by B.C. Lions receiver Jason Clermont.

Fast forward to today, and the news that Brown is the East Division nominee for the top defensive player award.

"I want to thank all the football reporters of Canada and the coaches that voted on this, keeping my streak alive of going to the major player awards and getting my ass handed to me," Brown said yesterday. "Hopefully this year I'll at least have a seat and get a good view."

It's true, Brown doesn't stand a chance.

Again, it's a Lion in his way. And not just any Lion.

"I think Cameron Wake has more sacks this year than me in my first six years in the CFL," Brown said.

Actually, Brown had 25 sacks in his first six years, combined, two more than the 23 Wake racked up in '08. This one could be unanimous.

But Brown's contribution to the Bomber defence -- usually keeping two blockers busy in the heart of the line, while still making the occasional big play -- is the kind of thing that coaches appreciate more than fans or voters from the media.

"To have such impact on a game in his position, it's no surprise to me, when I watch the films, that he's the nominee," Bomber boss Doug Berry said. "I can remember going against him years ago, he still is that same factor. You've got to account for Doug Brown when you address your blocking schemes. He's fanatical. It's a tribute to how hard he works and how technique oriented he is."

At 34, Brown is as good, if not better, than he was when he did win his one major award for top Canadian in 2001, his rookie year.

He shows no signs of slowing down, either.

That goes for his off-season conditioning, his play -- and his gift of the gab.

"I'm just a really, really late bloomer," he cracked. "I went through puberty when I was 31 years old. I've got hair on my chest so I'm starting to win some awards."

WHERE REAL MEN PLAY: Even with the weather predicted to turn nasty later this week, Berry scoffed at the suggestion he may move practice indoors.

"No, no, no," the coach said. "We'll be practising in the elements, which is going to be more what the game conditions are going to be like by the end of the week."

It's more difficult for teams to get work done in lousy weather.

But the idea is to toughen the players to the cold, rain and possible snow.

"It'll be mental," Berry said.

BUMPS AND BRUISES: Looks like the Bombers will be minus at least one starter on defence, as corner Willie Amos is doubtful with a hamstring pull. Robert Bean took a corner spot in practice yesterday, with Anthony Malbrough returning from the injury list at halfback ... Safety Ian Logan's status is to be determined. Ditto linebacker Ike Charlton ... Berry says returner Jason Armstead will return to the field today, along with defender Kelly Malveaux, both of whom took the day off yesterday ... Still no indication that Ryan Donnelly is ready to return at guard.


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