Bombers narrow search

KIRK PENTON, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:34 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are honing in on their new vice-president of football operations.

The Sun has learned that the club interviewed Brendan Taman for the position on Monday, and indications are the others on the short list are Joe Mack, Jim Barker and Ross Hodgkinson.

The person the Bombers hire will play a big role in choosing the team's new head coach, which is expected to happen before the end of the month, and will oversee the club's entire football operations department.

The introduction of the new VP of football operations could happen as early as this week.

The front-runner just might be Mack, who, according to a CFL source, has a big backer in Paul Robson, the Winnipeg Football Club's vice-chairman and a member of the search committee.

"I keep hearing Paul Robson wants Mack to get it," the source said.

It's been 22 years since Mack was last employed by a CFL team, and he's reportedly been working as a sports consultant for the past decade.

Robson was Winnipeg's general manager when Mack joined the Bombers as their player personnel director in 1984. Mack helped the Blue and Gold win the Grey Cup in his first season with the club, and he stayed until 1987.

Mack moved on to the NFL, where he worked as an Atlanta Falcons scout for two seasons before joining the Washington Redskins as their director of scouting in 1989. He eventually became Washington's director of pro personnel and helped them win the Super Bowl in 1992.

After six seasons in the U.S. capital, Mack joined the expansion Carolina Panthers in 1994 as the assistant GM to Bill Polian, another former Bomber personnel man, and helped guide them to the NFC Championship Game in just their second season of 1996.

After four years in Charlotte, the NFL hired Mack to be the director of football operations for the expansion Cleveland Browns. While there he compiled a database full of information about players from all leagues, including the CFL, and he stayed in the Browns organization for three years.

Taman is currently the Saskatchewan Roughriders director of football administration, and he is also a candidate for that team's GM position that was vacated when Eric Tillman resigned two weeks ago.

Taman was Winnipeg's general manager or director of player personnel between 1999 and 2009. That fact appears to be working both for him and against him in his quest to return to the Bombers.

Barker has been the Calgary Stampeders general manager for the past five seasons. He was in the role when the team acquired players like Henry Burris, Jeremaine Copeland and Sandro DeAngelis.

Hodgkinson is currently the Bombers' interim vice-president of football operations. The team's former athletic trainer, Hodgkinson has been Winnipeg's director of football operations since 2006.

John Murphy, the Bombers' director of player personnel, also applied for the VP of football ops job, but it's unclear if he will remain with the team should he not land the position.

FAMILIAR FACE: The Toronto Argonauts interviewed Doug Berry for their head coaching vacancy on Friday.

Berry was fired as head coach of the Bombers in November 2008 after three seasons in Winnipeg.

DEP'T OF CORRECTIONS: Taman spoke informally with the Roughriders about their vacant GM position last week. Incorrect information appeared in yesterday's Sun.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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