Kelly offers apology

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:18 AM ET

Mike Kelly has gone where it's believed no other Winnipeg Blue Bomber head coach has gone before.

Kelly took a 21st century approach yesterday by posting a 1,100-word statement on the team website's fan forum yesterday morning to explain his words about ex-Bomber GM Brendan Taman earlier in the week.

On Tuesday Kelly referred to Taman a "media darling" and criticized him for leaving the team without detailed player reports.

Yesterday, Kelly wrote on bluebombers.com that he didn't mean to offend Taman but was simply trying to make a point. The coach claimed he never directly called Taman a "media darling," that he was instead trying to explain that new player personnel director John Murphy will not be readily available to the media like Taman was.

"I apologize to Brendan for the perceived slight," Kelly wrote. "To those of you that now doubt me, I will work diligently to gain or regain your respect by putting a product on the field and in the community that you can be proud of."

Kelly also issued a warning to the media that he and president/CEO Lyle Bauer will be the football team's voices. Players will no longer be allowed to give out their phone numbers to media members, and the Bombers will control the message.

"The tail will no longer wag the dog," Kelly wrote.

BACK IN THE FOLD: Chris Cvetkovic is the locker-room prankster who is dead serious about his job, and he'll be doing both in Winnipeg for a couple more seasons.

The Bombers long snapper decided against becoming a free agent next month, opting instead to re-sign with the team yesterday. Another Canadian, backup defensive end Shawn Mayne, also re-upped with the Blue and Gold.

Cvetkovic, a 31-year-old from Hamilton, is going into his seventh season with the Bombers and has established himself as one of, if not the best, CFL long snapper.

"I'd say I'm one of the top 10," Cvetkovic cracked yesterday.

Re-signing the long snapper may bring a round of yawns, but Cvetkovic is one of the most valuable members of Winnipeg's special teams. A bad snap from the Concordia grad results in great field position for the opponent or, worse, a touchdown.

"Chris was very consistent last season as a long snapper," Kelly said in a release. "He is a core player of our special teams unit who gives great effort on coverage."

Cvetkovic didn't give any consideration to going elsewhere, considering he and his young family have put down roots in Winnipeg and he likes the organization from "top to bottom." Besides, Cvetkovic said, he's had five special teams co-ordinators in the last six years, so that's almost like playing somewhere new every year.

"But I get to keep my house," he said.

Cvetkovic has 48 special teams tackles in 102 CFL games with Saskatchewan and Winnipeg.

Mayne, a 28-year-old from Montreal, returns for a fourth season with the Bombers. He appeared in all 18 games last season and registered a sack and eight tackles.

The two signings leave the Bombers with eight players who are poised to become free agents on Feb. 16, most notably offensive linemen Dominic Picard and Alexandre Gauthier.

BYE BYE JEROME: It didn't take long for Jerome Haywood to find a new home.

The defensive tackle, who spent the past two seasons with the Bombers but became expendable after the team inked Tyrone Williams, signed a one-year-plus-an-option contract with the Montreal Alouettes yesterday.

Haywood, who actually became a free agent in November due to a contract snafu, played 11 games for the Alouettes in 2006, recording four sacks and nine tackles.

The 30-year-old from San Diego had eight sacks and 68 tackles in 32 games with the Blue and Gold.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: The Edmonton Eskimos have released linebacker Agustin Barrenechea, who became infamous around these parts in October when he speared Bombers quarterback Kevin Glenn in the head ... The Eskimos also signed receiver Fred Stamps to a two-year contract extension ... The Toronto Argonauts have added to their roster 6-foot-4 receiver Derrick Hamilton, a third-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2004.


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