Night to remember for rookie DB

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 4:43 AM ET

At least one member of the Hefney/Whitlock household had a game to remember last week.

Defensive back Jonathan Hefney recovered the opening onside kickoff for the Bombers against the Stampeders on Friday night. The gutsy play set the tone for the Blue and Gold in their 42-30 win over the defending champs.

"When I saw the ball I didn't see anybody around, so I went up and got it," Hefney said. "I kinda forgot to run after. I caught it, and I was like, 'OK, I'm happy I caught it.' "

It wasn't as memorable a night for Eskimos running back Arkee Whitlock, who fumbled once, dropped two passes in the end zone and had another that bounced off his shoulder pads returned for a touchdown in Edmonton's 50-16 loss to Montreal on Thursday.

Hefney and Whitlock aren't brothers, but they might as well be. They spent many years together under the same roof in Rock Hill, S.C.

"My mom's older than his mom, and she took care of all of us," Hefney said. "So he stayed with me in high school, and when he went to college I went to college. That's like my brother."

The Eskimos say they aren't giving up on Whitlock, and Hefney said he won't let them down.

"He doesn't drop anything. He doesn't ever drop a pass," Hefney said. " I know him, and that second one, the one in the end zone, it had to be something in his head, just telling him 'You gotta catch this.'

"If they give him a chance, he's going to be fine. He can run it big time."

Hefney is already showing that he can be a fine CFL player himself. The 24-year-old rookie is playing the demanding weak-side halfback position, and he leads the Bombers with two pass knockdowns.

ROSTER MOVES: The Bombers released three players from their practice roster over the weekend: defensive tackle Montez Murphy, linebacker Nick Kordic and receiver Scott Mitchell, who told the team he couldn't afford to stay.

The moves leave only three players on Winnipeg's seven-man practice roster, which would explain rumblings that the Bombers are about to add receiver Lorne Sam to the fold.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder, who is the younger brother of former Toronto Argonauts receiver P.K. Sam, had unsuccessful tryouts with the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers in the last year.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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