Nice to be wanted

Roughriders backup quarterback Steven Jyles became a CFL free agent overnight. (REUTERS/David...

Roughriders backup quarterback Steven Jyles became a CFL free agent overnight. (REUTERS/David Stobbe)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

It looks like the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will have a legitimate crack at Steven Jyles.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders backup quarterback became a CFL free agent on Monday at 11:01 p.m., and his agent hinted that Winnipeg is a possible destination.

"A lot has changed in the league this year," Ferrell Elliott said Monday from Louisville, Ky. "There's been a lot of movement, a lot of things happening and it's all happened late, so it's interesting how all that timing's coming together."

When asked if he was referring to two of Jyles' offensive coaches from Saskatchewan -- Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice and offensive co-ordinator Jamie Barresi -- being hired in Winnipeg over the last two weeks, Elliott said, "Exactly."

"We'll certainly listen to what everyone has to say," he added. "We expect to hear from around the league."

Two CFL sources said the Bombers and Roughriders both want Jyles, but one of the sources added Winnipeg believes the 27-year-old will end up staying in Regina. Elliott said Jyles would have no problem remaining in Saskatchewan, where he has been a backup for the past two seasons.

"He feels very comfortable there and is very happy with his role there and hopes he can expand it when given the chance," Elliott said.

The Bombers have two players who are now free to roam: offensive lineman Ryan Donnelly and safety Steven Holness.

Both have been offered contracts by the Bombers but Holness is going to see what's out there, while Donnelly, who got married on Sunday, plans to talk to the Bombers on Wednesday and wants to return.

As for the rest of the league, six players went off the board prior to Monday's deadline.

The biggest name to re-sign with his team was Montreal Alouettes receiver Kerry Watkins, a two-time CFL all-star who has recorded five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.

The Alouettes also re-signed Canadian fullback Kerry Carter and import defensive lineman Jermaine McElveen.

Montreal's last remaining free agent is defensive tackle Keron Williams, who should attract attention considering he was a CFL all-star in 2009 alongside Winnipeg's Doug Brown.

The Roughriders have 11 free agents, including Jyles, after re-signing Canadian running back Stu Foord on Monday. The Toronto Argonauts are next with eight after re-upping with Canadians Ray Fontaine and Obed Cetoute on Monday.

The Boatmen are working hard to re-sign kick returner Dominique Dorsey, but defensive end Jonathan Brown will not be brought back, GM Adam Rita told QMI Agency on Monday.

Other notables who reached free agency were cornerback Byron Parker (Edmonton), running back Wes Cates, offensive lineman Marc Parenteau and linebacker Tad Kornegay (Saskatchewan), running back Jamal Robertson (Toronto) and placekicker Sandro DeAngelis (Calgary).

Of the 30 free agents, 11 are Canadian.

NEW COACH: The Bombers Monday hired Casey Creehan to be their linebackers coach.

Creehan, the son of former CFL defensive co-ordinator Denny Creehan, spent last season at Eastern Michigan University as its defensive line coach.

He was Montreal's front-seven co-ordinator in 2008 and Calgary's defensive line coach from 2004 to 2007.

LaPolice has three more assistant positions to fill.

NEW JOB: Former Bombers defensive co-ordinator Mark Nelson, who was fired earlier this month, was hired Monday as the special teams co-ordinator and defensive ends coach at East Carolina University.


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