Bishop answers the call

The Bombers have brought in Michael Bishop to spark an offence that ranks dead last in 17 CFL...

The Bombers have brought in Michael Bishop to spark an offence that ranks dead last in 17 CFL offensive categories. (Sun Media/Dave Abel)

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

Michael Bishop joined the Indoor Football League's Corpus Christi Hammerheads on April 9.

Hammerheads coach Roy Salas summoned Bishop because his starting quarterback, Cory Miles, struggled mightily in Corpus Christi's season-opening loss to El Paso.

Roy Salas, meet Mike Kelly.

Cory Miles, meet Stefan LeFors.

Michael Bishop, come in and attempt to save the day for the second time this year.

The cannon-armed Texan landed at Winnipeg's James Richardson International Airport yesterday afternoon, ready and willing to do whatever the Winnipeg Blue Bombers need him to do.

COULD START SATURDAY

If that means starting on Saturday at Rogers Centre against the Toronto Argonauts, his former team, he's ready and willing to do just that.

"There's always the itch to play against the team you played for," Bishop said with a smile. "I still know a lot of guys on the team, so if I get an opportunity to get out there and play I'll just go out there and win for Winnipeg."

First things first, however. He needs to practise before he can even think about playing, and it might take Bishop more than five days to get his head wrapped around Kelly's intricate offence.

When he was traded to Saskatchewan last August, Bishop came in and started right away, in the Labour Day Classic, guiding the Roughriders to a win over the Bombers.

"It was me being familiar with what they do on offence, and, really, I think each team basically runs the same offence. There's just different terminology," Bishop said, perhaps unaware of what's in store. "So the quicker you can pick it up, the more you can get out there and help your teammates win.

"I was able to go out there and do that last year with Saskatchewan, and if given the opportunity here I would love to do the same thing."

The Bombers have brought in Bishop to spark an offence that ranks dead last in 17 CFL offensive categories. Quarterbacks Stefan LeFors, Bryan Randall and Richie Williams were all ineffective during Friday's 19-5 loss to the Argos.

Winnipeg managed just 123 yards of total offence, eight first downs (three courtesy of Argo penalties) and 66 passing yards.

The knock on Bishop has always been inaccuracy; he has thrown 51 touchdowns and 56 interceptions in his seven-year CFL career. There are also doubts about his ability to grasp offences after he scored only 10 (out of 50) on the Wonderlic intelligence test prior to the NFL draft.

On the flip side, he was the runner-up to Ricky Williams in 1998 Heisman Trophy voting. He has a solid record of 20-15-1 as a CFL starter, including an 11-1 run during the 2007 season with the Argos in which he threw 22 touchdowns against 11 interceptions.

He was traded to the Roughriders last August and compiled a 4-4 record as a starter, but was sacked one day after throwing three interceptions in Saskatchewan's loss to the B.C. Lions in the West Division semifinal.

Since his three-game stint with the Hammerheads in April and May, Bishop has been working out relentlessly, trimming 15 pounds from his 6-foot-1 frame.

"Once you're away from the game there's always that itch to get back," he said. "And when I got the phone call I was glad about it and knew that there was an opportunity to get back on the field.

"... I still have to learn the offence and get acquainted to the guys and do my best to be the best teammate and try to get everybody going in the right direction."

FUN FACT: Bishop's first cousin, according to the Toronto Argos 2008 media guide, is Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx, whose real name is Eric Bishop.


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