Headhunt begins

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:25 AM ET

The new vice-president of player personnel for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers better be prepared to work.

The CFL club is revamping and expanding its scouting system. That played a part in Brendan Taman deciding to resign from his post.

"We need to expand and develop a more comprehensive plan at the college level and with other leagues, and that's one of the reasons (head coach) Mike (Kelly) was brought in," president and CEO Lyle Bauer said.

"Brendan thought he could do it. It was going to be much more work. Through our conversations in December and throughout the process he was prepared to do it. But after we got going on it it was more than what he bargained for."

A CFL source yesterday threw out three possible replacements for Taman -- Paul Jones, Mike McCarthy and Dan Rambo.

Jones, who is Edmonton's director of player personnel, had the same role with Winnipeg for nine years before departing in 1998 and is tight with Kelly.

McCarthy is currently a Montreal Alouettes scout, while Rambo, who coincidentally gave Taman his first CFL job in 1987, recently parted ways with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Bauer indicated the Bombers may have had a scouting void for the past of couple weeks while Taman determined his future, but director of football operations Ross Hodgkinson is out on the recruiting trail in Texas and has things under control.

Kelly and Bauer will join Hodgkinson in the search for talent next week.

SOLID JOB: Doug Brown believes Taman should be leaving the Bombers with no regrets.

Taman said he'll always have guilt for Winnipeg's losses in the 2001 and 2007 Grey Cups, but Brown, an all-star defensive tackle, said the personnel man did everything he could.

"There's been a number of occasions where we've had the talent to be champions in the Canadian Football League, and for one reason or another the players haven't gotten it done," Brown said.

"... In 2001, 2002 and 2003 we had the talent, and we could've got it done in '07 and it should have carried forward to '08."

QUOTABLE: "I'll miss game day, the three hours during the game. But I can do that now as a fan, so I'm not going to miss it that much."

-- Taman, when asked what he'll miss most about his job.

NO TO WESTY: Kelly met with Troy Westwood two days ago and politely told the kicker that he would not be invited to training camp this year.

"He said, 'I love you. We're going with youth,' I don't understand it, but I have to accept it," Westwood said.

The 41-year-old said he will continue to work out with the intention of landing in another team's camp this June.

HERE WE GO AGAIN? Bombers defensive back Jovon Johnson has signed with the American Indoor Football Association's Erie RiverRats, according to the Erie Times-News.

That's news to the Bombers, who have Johnson under contract for the 2009 season but are still doing evaluations of everyone on the roster.

Hodgkinson said last night from Houston that the CFL doesn't have an agreement with the AIFL to not sign each other's players like it did with the now-defunct Arena Football League.

A pact between those two leagues was created two years ago after AFL teams signed several CFLers, including Winnipeg's Ryan Dinwiddie and Ron Warner.

Hodgkinson plans to look into the situation.

LATE HITS: Hodgkinson believes he is close to signing a handful of potential Bomber free agents. The biggest names on the list are running back Fred Reid, defensive end Gavin Walls and centre Dominic Picard ... A CFL source said yesterday he wouldn't be surprised if Rick Campbell, the former Edmonton Eskimos defensive co-ordinator and son of Hugh, joined Kelly's coaching staff as defensive backs or special teams coach.

---

EYE FOR TALENT

Some of the many players Taman is proud to leave as his legacy (although he says most players were a group find):

LB Brendan Ayanbadejo

WR Arland Bruce III

DE Tom Canada

OL Dan Goodspeed

RB Charles Roberts

P Jon Ryan

SB Geroy Simon

DE Gavin Walls

DT Ron Warner


Photos