Westwood 'did a nice job for us': Kelly

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:04 PM ET

When Troy Westwood left the field after warmups yesterday, not a single person in the group standing behind the end zone said a thing.

It was almost as if they couldn't believe he was actually there.

It was a different story when the 42-year-old, whose career was reborn earlier this week when head coach Mike Kelly brought him back to replace the injured Mike Renaud, trotted on to the field for his first punt of the day.

Westwood was greeted with a warm ovation from the crowd, many of whom stood to welcome back the Manitoba native who was cut during training camp in June 2008.

"Yeah, I noticed it," Westwood said. "It was really kind, and I deeply appreciate the support."

His first attempt, which was into the wind, travelled 38 yards, and he finished with a 38.2-yard average on five punts. One of them bounced into the end zone for a single.

"I know I can kick considerably better than that, and I expect great improvement as each day goes by here," he said.

"... It was barely passable. I was happy the last two kicks went where they were supposed to go. I jammed myself twice, where I just left the ball too close to my body. I need to get it out there and blast it. Other than that it was decent."

Bombers head coach Mike Kelly gave Westwood, who also surrendered a safety, a passing grade.

"It was good to have Troy out there," Kelly said. "Everyone's been asking, 'Did we tell Troy to take a knee?' Troy knows he has to take a knee. You noticed, he was so calm and relaxed that he took the snap and just stood there. Then he dropped down.

"The guy knows what he's doing. He did a nice job for us."

Westwood said his nerves were fine leading up to kickoff.

"I was just dead calm," he said. "I didn't feel nervous at all. I was really nervous when I first came back early in the week, but I was fine and dandy today.

"You get back in the swing of things here in a hurry. When you've done it that long, it doesn't matter, it seems, how long you've been away. You come back, and it's just like old times."

If Kelly's reasoning for bringing back Westwood was to allow Alexis Serna to focus on his field goals, it worked. Serna was 4-for-4, with a longest of 29 yards.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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