CFL wades into Simpson standoff

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:04 AM ET

The Barrin Simpson situation is becoming quite the public chess match, and next week it will go to the board room.

"We actually called Barrin (Tuesday) night and asked him if he was interested in playing for us this weekend, and he declined," Bombers head coach Mike Kelly said. "So we just keep going along, and hopefully at some point we'll have some conclusion to this.

"I still think Barrin has some value and I don't fully understand his stance, but I appreciate that that's the decision that he's made."

Asking Simpson to play was an interesting query from the Bombers, considering they put him on the nine-game injured list on Sunday. The Mississippi State product has a turf toe injury, the severity of which is unknown and could end up playing a factor in the legal process.

Simpson has filed a grievance about being placed on the injured list, so at first glance it appears the Bombers were trying to call his bluff by taking him off the nine-game and ending the legal proceedings.

Kelly said the team's request for him to play in Montreal this weekend was genuine. "Very much so. We wouldn't have called if we didn't (want him to play)."

The 31-year-old middle linebacker, who has hired agent Mark Maren to represent him, contends he didn't agree to go on the injured list and should have given written consent.

The Bombers, meanwhile, believed they were allowed to make the decision unilaterally and had to only inform Simpson he was going on the DL.

Since other CFL teams were under the impression they needed a signature from a player before putting him on the injured list, comissioner Mark Cohon has decided to let the board of governors clear it up.

CFL spokesman Matt Maychak said yesterday that the board, which already had a meeting scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday in Toronto, will decide on the "application of the bylaw" as it pertains to putting a player on the nine-game.

The board will not rewrite the bylaw, nor will it discuss the Simpson situation specifically.

Simpson, meanwhile, remains very much in the Bomber picture and even watched practice yesterday from the sideline.

"I got nothing," he told reporters after practice.

Kelly doesn't think it's strange to have Simpson around the team.

"He's not suspended. We haven't kicked him off anything," he said. "We would like for him to be mentally prepared that if he so chooses that he wants to come back and play that he's in tune to what we're trying to do defensively.

"It's just one of those things where we'll just play it out and not get too crazy about it."

LATE HITS: Recently arrived receiver Dudley Guice Jr. is poised to play on Sunday, and Kelly said he's smart enough to have picked up the offence. "He has an undergraduate degree where he had a 3.6 grade-point average, and he's 12 hours away from a masters degree in global terrorism, and the FBI's already offered him a job." ... Receiver Brock Ralph (hip pointer) didn't practise yesterday, and his status for Sunday is up in the air ... The Bombers have added defensive end Phillip Hunt to their practice roster.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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