Bombers re-sign an uninformed Smith

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- If Joe Smith puts as much effort into his job as he does into getting away from it all in the off-season, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will get a solid return on their investment.

The 29-year-old running back, who this week signed a contract extension for two years and an option, was at his eccentric best yesterday when asked about the off-season moves made by the team that traded for him last September.

The six-foot-two, 224-lb. bruiser knew the Blue and Gold had made a coaching change, but the identity of new boss Mike Kelly was news to him.

"Kelly ... now which coach is that? Is that the head coach?" Smith asked. "I should know this. I'm going to write this down right now. Mike. Kelly."

Smith, the former B.C. Lion who had 381 yards and two touchdowns on 69 carries for the Bombers after being acquired for Charles Roberts, was also unaware that Kevin Glenn is no longer his team's starting quarterback.

"After the season I just like to get away and do my own thing and enjoy the time I have off," he said. "I don't know who we signed or who didn't sign back or who got traded or who they brought in from other teams. I'll see what happened when I get there."

Smith, the CFL's leading rusher in 2007, had two years remaining on the contract he brought with him from B.C., but it was paying him approximately $150,000 per season. Considering he will split time in the Bomber backfield with fellow tailback Fred Reid, he no doubt took a pay cut to make his salary more cap-friendly.

"That's what we're trying to do with everybody, make everything more cap-friendly and tie down some of these guys for an extended period," Kelly said from Philadelphia. "We don't want to get caught like we did, with having quality players all be up for free agency at the same time."

The Bombers also announced Bradley Pierson's signing yesterday. The former North Carolina State punter had a 37.2-yard punting average with the Wolfpack and is reportedly an excellent directional kicker. The 22-year-old can also placekick.

A fan appreciation day is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. at Clarke Park on June 6 - the day before the main camp kicks off.

Besides having a chance to meet this year's crop of hopefuls, fans will have a unique opportunity to get a glimpse at the upcoming season.

Eskimos players and coaches will hold chalk talks among Cheer Team demonstrations and interactive football stations. The day will also feature the 2009 Eskimos Pep Band. Johnsonville is holding a barbecue to raise funds for the Michael Cuccione Foundation, with all proceeds benefiting the Stollery Children's Hospital. Children's activities are also planned along with merchandise and ticket booths. Eskimos players will also be available for an autograph session. Visit www.esks.com.


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