Bombers done dealing

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers stood pat yesterday as the CFL trade deadline came and went.

They didn't even look into making a deal, according to their head coach.

"I like this team," Mike Kelly said. "We've done what we needed to do previous to the trade deadline, and we didn't see where there was anyone of significance that would make us drastically better."

The passing of the deadline means middle linebacker Barrin Simpson won't be on the move. Kelly said the Bombers received no offers for the six-time CFL all-star.

Simpson, 32, demanded a trade last month after being asked to take a reduced playing role, and two weeks later he was asked to stay away from the team at the request of other veterans.

He returned to the team last week when his replacement, Joe Lobendahn, went down with a hamstring injury, and he had two tackles in Monday's 38-28 win over Hamilton.

Simpson wouldn't say last week whether or not he had rescinded his trade request, but it matters no more.

What's next for Simpson is unclear. Lobendahn was back in his starting spot at practice yesterday, and Kelly isn't sure if he can dress two backup import linebackers in Simpson and special teams demon Derrick Doggett.

"Joe Lobendahn's the starter, and if he's ready to go then he'll be back in there," Kelly said. "He was moving around pretty good, but we'll make that determination as the week goes on.

"Barrin understands what his situation is and how it all fits, and I'm sure that he'll be responsive to what we ask him to do in order for us to be successful."

NO LOVE? The Bombers have won three in a row for the first time since last September, yet only 19,312 tickets had been sold (as of 3 p.m. yesterday) for Sunday's home game against the B.C. Lions.

The Lions are normally a decent draw, and the forecast is calling for a high of 12 C on Sunday afternoon.

KICKIN' IT: Placekicker Alexis Serna is confident he'll be a fine fill-in for injured punter Mike Renaud, who is lost for the season with a torn ACL.

"I'm not worried about it at all," Serna said. "I've been working on it for a few weeks, just hitting the ball and messing around, so I think I can go out there and do it again."

Serna had a 42.1-yard punting average last season, while Renaud's mark this year is 41. Renaud's net average this year is 36.2 yards, while Serna's last year was only 31.9.

Kelly is confident that Serna can deliver the goods in the remaining four games after watching him take over for Renaud in Monday's win over Hamilton.

"He did a nice job the other day. We gave him our special teams player of the game," Kelly said. "He might not drive the ball like Mike does, but he can place it where we need it placed, and he did a nice job of that."

Serna said his field goal struggles last year had nothing to do with the fact he was doing both duties.

The loss of Renaud means Serna is now working with his third holder of the season: receiver Aaron Hargreaves. Stefan LeFors was his first holder.

LATE HITS: Two Bombers won CFL weekly honours yesterday. Receiver Adarius Bowman was named offensive player of the week for his 10-catch, 213-yard, two-touchdown performance, while returner Jovon Johnson got the special teams nod for the second week in a row ... Running back Fred Reid (hip) and offensive lineman Steve Morley (groin) didn't practise yesterday, but Kelly expects them to both play on Sunday ... Kelly said he wouldn't mind getting receiver Titus Ryan in the lineup this week, but he's not sure how he'll do it ... The Bombers haven't won four in a row since taking five straight in 2003.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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