Last pivot standing

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:57 AM ET

He is the last Winnipeg quarterback standing from the ruins of 2009.

Now, Adam DiMichele is one of four quarterbacks battling to lead the Blue Bombers out of the abyss that the former regime had created.

"I'm excited," DiMichele said after his first day of rookie camp at Canad Inns Stadium on Wednesday. "I'm glad the new coaching staff decided to have me back. It's a blessing. I'm glad to be here ... I've been waiting for this day for a long time and it's finally out of the way."

The 6-foot-1, 202-pound Temple product also survived a mini-purge of sorts as the Bombers released QB Ricky Santos to make room for the recently-acquired Alex Brink on the eve of training camp.

"Ricky's a great guy, a great competitor," said DiMichele, 24. "Obviously, I think he'll find a job somewhere down the line. But it's a business and I wish him well. But they decided to go with the four quarterbacks and I'm just glad I'm one of them."

Aside from Brink, Di-Michele will be vying for the starting job with Steven Jyles and Buck Pierce, the only two with CFL experience.

"Buck's the old man of the crew," said DiMichele, a college pitcher who was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2005. "So is Steven. So, me and Alex are going to talk to those guys and try to understand the Canadian game a little more."

At least DiMichele has seen the CFL up close from the sidelines. Brink is still learning the nuances of the game.

"There's some obvious differences (to the NFL) game," said Brink, a 6-foot-2, 208-pound Washington State product who spent parts of two seasons with the Houston Texans. "There's an extra guy and lots of motion and one less down. But it's still football. From a quarterback's standpoint, you're paying attention and you're throwing passes and you've got to make plays. From that standpoint, it's very similar. Now, adjusting to the rules a little bit will take a little bit of time. That's why we have training camp.

"It's neat to have four quarterbacks who are ready to compete, guys who are working to make each other better. Unfortunately, at the quarterback position, only one guy can play but everybody in the room will work to make that guy better."

Jyles is determined to be that guy.

"Everyone wants to start and everyone wants to play," said the 6-foot, 190-pound former Saskatchewan Roughrider. "You want the opportunity to be the guy so all I want to do is compete and hopefully, I get it."

Only Pierce, who started a number of games for the B.C. Lions, has more CFL experience than Jyles among the four. Jyles is expected to be his main competitor for the starting spot.

"That's a long ways away yet," said the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder. "There's a lot of steps leading up to that. I know it's on everybody's mind. I know the kind of competitor that Steven is -- and all of the quarterbacks in camp.

"A guy can have experience but it's a new system for me as well. I have played a lot of football games. I've won a lot of football games and I'm excited for a chance to come and compete with everybody."

The battle is just beginning.

"Steven Jyles has a very strong arm," said Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice. "He's very mobile, is very intelligent and understands the game. Buck Pierce has a quick release, a strong arm, good accuracy. He's a competitor and has played a lot of football games.

"Adam DiMichele, who's athletic, has good arm strength ... he knows where he wants to go with the football. He makes quick decisions. Alex Brink is an accurate thrower, has a strong arm and has the ability to put the ball into some tight spaces. It will be a good competition."


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