Bomber punter bid blocked

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are no doubt looking at Burke Dales as the punter who got away.

The Bombers appeared close to signing the 32-year-old free agent away from the Calgary Stampeders in February, but the Collingwood, Ont., product re-signed with the Grey Cup champs yesterday.

A CFL source said the Bombers, desperately wanting to upgrade their struggling kicking department, had offered Dales $90,000 per season.

Dales originally delayed signing with any CFL team because he was attempting to earn an NFL tryout.

A league source said after Dales gave up on his NFL dream, he learned his off-season employer in Calgary wouldn't allow him to keep his job if he moved to Winnipeg.

Therefore, according to the source, Dales figured it would be better for him financially to remain with the Stampeders at a lower salary than the Bombers were offering, because it meant he would get to keep his off-season job.

"I'm just glad to be back with the Stamps," Dales said in a statement. "This team has become a family for me, Calgary is home and I'm very excited to be back. I can't wait for the season to get started and I'm Iooking forward to competing for another Grey Cup."

Dales had the CFL's fourth-best punting average last season, at 46.1 yards. He was second in net average with a 38.1-yard mark.

Dales initially joined the Stampeders in 2005 and spent four seasons with the club before becoming a free agent after Calgary's 2008 championship season.

"We're happy to have Burke back with the Stampeders," Calgary general manager John Hufnagel said in a statement. "He had a very good 2008 season and steadily improved as the season went on. I'm sure we'll see more of the same in 2009."

Dales played in all 18 regular-season games, the West Final and the Grey Cup in 2008. He averaged a career-high 46.1 yards-per-punt and led all CFL punters with a 38.1 net yards-per-punt average.


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