New start in the 'Peg

Adarius Bowman is happy to be with the Bombers following a trade in the offseason. (Sun Media/Chris...

Adarius Bowman is happy to be with the Bombers following a trade in the offseason. (Sun Media/Chris Procaylo)

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

A year ago, a promising receiver made such an impact on the Saskatchewan Roughriders scene that observers were predicting big things.

One Regina columnist even referred to it as 'the Dawning of the Age of Adarius.'

But after an impressive start, Adarius Bowman's production waned as receivers were falling around him and the pressure mounted on the rookie receiver. Then when he suffered a second-degree tear of his left quadriceps, the Riders placed him on the nine-game injury reserve, a move which still rankles him.

"I hurt my quad a little bit; it wasn't as serious as everybody made it into," Bowman said yesterday. "It wasn't as bad as they said ... They put me on the nine-week. Who would be happy about that? But it's done now. I'm here now."

The Riders later admitted they made the move for salary cap considerations. Players on the nine-game list don't count towards the cap and Bowman was expected to be out at least five weeks.

Bowman is a Blue Bomber now because new Winnipeg head coach Mike Kelly liked his potential so much he dealt all-star offensive tackle Dan Goodspeed to Saskatchewan to get him.

"I'm just happy to be here -- it's not about leaving there," said Bowman, who has had a great camp thus far. "It's just the fact that I'm here with a great program. I love coach Kelly and I love everything the team's got going now, so I'm happy."

Bowman was once touted as a high NFL draft pick but well-chronicled troubles with charges for marijuana possession negated that. The Roughies gave the 6-foot-4, 219-pound import a second chance last year and that opportunity continues here.

"When I was the (Edmonton) Eskimos receiver coach last year, I was breaking down tape of (Bowman) and he made some really strong catches and catches at the time in the game that were very important," Kelly said. "I saw the way he snatched the ball out of the air. He's got very strong hands. He's big, he can run, he can jump and he's aggressive to the throw and those are all qualities that I look for in receivers."

Although the Bombers have signed import receivers Derick Armstrong, Terrence Edwards and Romby Bryant to contract extensions, there may be room for one more with the retirement of future CFL Hall-of-Famer Milt Stegall.

"I can't replace him," said the Oklahoma State product, who was a semifinalist for best pass catcher in the NCAA. "I wish I had gotten a chance to meet him. I've heard great things about him. I wish he was still here but, no, I won't say I'm going to replace him. But I'm here trying to help."

And learn from veterans like Armstrong and Edwards.

"You learn from these guys so I was yearning to be here," said the affable Chatanooga, Tenn., native. "I'm a young guy -- 23 -- so to hear about these veteran guys, that's a positive vibe from my standpoint. I enjoy being out here with these guys and I'm picking up the tendencies that they've learned over the years and they're passing it down to me so I can maybe pass it on to the next guy."

Bowman caught 23 passes for 358 yards and three touchdowns in eight games last year but expects to do a lot more damage this season.

"I'm going to have a great year, an all-star year," Bowman vowed. "They're going to let me do it here."


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