Giancola excited to be back

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

He only connected on about half of his kicks but Dan Giancola was still overjoyed.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers kicker was attempting field goals for the first time at training camp yesterday morning.

"Oh yeah, I'm excited," said Giancola, who has been slowed by a groin pull. "I'm like a kid with candy. I can't wait any more. I had been praying to God, 'Just please, let me go out there and have some fun with this and try to stay nerve-free.'

"I kicked the first couple and I felt no pain and I looked at our trainer, Al (Couture), and asked, 'What do you think? Can I hit a few more? And he said, 'Yeah, that's why we're out here.' So I hit some from about 30 yards out and I was hitting the ball really well with no pain. We were only hitting about 50% (but after) just literally sitting around camp and treatment, treatment, treatment, man, it just felt unbelievable."

Giancola, 39, does not know if he'll be allowed to kick this Wednesday when Winnipeg plays host to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a CFL pre-season game.

MAVERICK KICKER: Also hoofing for the first time as a Bomber was Mike Renaud, the non-import punter just acquired from Calgary.

"I'm just trying to get into a rhythm -- new stadium, new people, new snapper," said the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Concordia product.

Before Calgary signed Renaud, he spent a season punting for Monchengladbach Mavericks, who won the German Football League and the beer steins emblematic of that championship.

"I knew I had to keep playing," said Renaud, who attended Montreal's training camp in 2007. "If I was to sit out a second season, you kind of slow down in the mental aspects of the game. I knew I had to keep going so I went to Germany and found a spot there to play."

Renaud, 26, got an apartment, car, cellphone and a small salary while playing for the Mavericks. The league also took a six-week break in the middle of the season.

"I did some travelling when I was out there," said the Ottawa native. "Probably at this time last year, I was in Barcelona on the beach.

"I had a great time and it was probably the best thing I did. It got me back into the CFL ... This is my second kick at the can so I'm hoping to make the best of it."

The Bombers believe he will.

"He has the right passport and No. 2, he does have the ability to put the ball up and out," said head coach Mike Kelly.

PASSPORT STRESS: Import LB Jonathan Hefney was one of the most impressive defenders during Friday's Blue-Gold scrimmage but had been wondering if he would even make it to Winnipeg due to passport woes.

"That was one of the most stressful times I had," said the 5-foot-9, 190-pound Rockhill, S.C., native. "I was just getting ready to play and had an opportunity to play and I was just waiting on it to come and once it came, I was ready to go.

"I was just excited to get the opportunity. I was ready to go, my moms was ready for me to go. I was just ready to do something."


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