Great right-hand man

Brendan Taman wouldn't mind stepping back into the Bombers locker-room as the team's GM once again....

Brendan Taman wouldn't mind stepping back into the Bombers locker-room as the team's GM once again. (QMI Agency/C. Procaylo)

PAUL FRIESEN

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

He's been asked to submit his resume.

On a napkin, presumably.

So we can say Brendan Taman's ball cap is officially in the ring for the vacant job as the football operations boss of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The Bombers asked Taman's current employer, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, for permission to talk to him, and the Riders granted it, as teams always do when there's a promotion involved.

Taman had been helping out Riders GM Eric Tillman, but the job he's applying for here is to run the show. Kind of like he did for five of his 10 years here the first time around.

So how seriously do we take this attempt at a second lease on life at the helm of the Bombers?

Let's be as brutally honest as Taman always is: I'm not sure I like his chances.

"I'm realistic. I know what I'm up against," Taman said from Saskatoon yesterday. "Perception. The biggest problem I'm facing is the perception of being there already, and not winning the championship when I was there. And that's the reality of it. Whether or not I overcome it, that's to be determined.

"I'm definitely going to attempt to overcome it."

Yes, the media darling who resigned, citing burnout, early in 2009 would be a tough sell for Winnipeg football fans looking for a fresh start.

He's not old, but around here he'd be seen by some as yesterday's news. Been there, done that.

Whereas someone like Tom Higgins, the former Eskimos and Stampeders head coach, currently the CFL director of officiating, would come with no Winnipeg baggage.

Bomber chairman Ken Hildahl wouldn't comment on the board's level of interest in either one.

"There's lots of names getting bandied about. Some we'd like to talk to," Hildahl said.

He did confirm the team has received permission to speak with Taman.

They should, too.

Taman did a hell of a job in personnel, finding players on a shoestring budget. Players like Charles Roberts, Arland Bruce, Geroy Simon, Gavin Walls, Tom Canada and Dan Goodspeed.

He was a pretty shrewd trader, too, the Khari Jones deal his signature move.

But I saw him as a great right-hand man, not the leader of the football operation.

That said, he made a good hire in head coach Doug Berry in 2006. In fact, Taman showed better judgment than president/CEO Lyle Bauer when he recommended Berry return last season.

Bauer dumped Berry and went with Mike Kelly, and we all know how that turned out.

Taman built two Grey Cup finalists here, in 2001 and '07, and with a little luck would have seen his team win at least one.

Then again, he also let both those teams decline.

So what kind of GM would he make the second time around?

Apparently, a tougher one.

"I was always tentative as a GM," Taman admits. "I would be more assertive, put it that way."

And he'd be allowed to.

The vice-president of football operations, the title for the Winnipeg job, is expected to have full control over all football decisions, as Bauer's CEO post will likely be redefined somewhat to oversee the business side.

Taman relishes the thought of expanding the Bombers' scouting network, too, a job that at times seemed to be done with strings, tin cans and courier pigeons.

Oh, and little rectangular pieces of paper from the lunch table.

"I will definitely continue to use napkins," Taman said. "I still do. Why fix something that's not broke?"

He was only half joking.

But he's dead serious about this job.

"I'm more confident than I ever was that I could do it," Taman said. "Whether I get the chance, who knows?"

After what's happened around here the last 12 months, I wouldn't rule out anything.

Contact Paul at paul.friesen@sunmedia.ca or 632-2788.


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