WINNIPEG — It took Thaine Carter a year and change to finally show the Blue Bombers what he's got and if first impressions count for much, the Canadian linebacker could become a special teams demon.
Winnipeg's sixth-round draft pick in 2009, Carter suffered a season-ending shoulder injury on the first day of training camp. But he has returned from injury with a vengeance of sorts. Carter not only recorded four special teams tackles in his first CFL preseason game as Winnipeg whipped the Montreal Alouettes 34-10 at Canad Inns Stadium on Sunday but he seemed to be around the ball even when he was not tracking down returners.
"They had me on all five special teams and on defence in the third and fourth quarters so, I wanted to go out and show them that I was worth it, that I was worth the draft pick and that I was worth having me back," said the 6-foot, 230-pound Queen's University product. "So, I did my all out there.
"I had a few special teams tackles and a few more on defence. I'm not too sure about what my numbers but I was in on some business. So, I'm just hoping that it shows up on film that I did the right things and they can see that I'm a valuable player to have around."
Carter, 23, added two defensive tackles to his night's work.
A KEEPER: Also enjoying his first taste of CFL action was import receiver Terence Jeffers-Harris, who led the Bombers with three catches for 54 yards, aided by his yards after catch.
"I thought it was OK. I thought I could do a lot better," said the 6-foot-2, 216-pound speedster. "But, as far as my introduction to the game, I think I'm ready to play … I was just getting adjusted to the speed but really, it was just to get back into the game for me. I guess I was wondering if I would have butterflies going out there and I didn't have any. I went out there and took care of business."
But Jeffers-Harris, who was out of action for the last two years, was kicking himself over dropping one pass.
"Yeah, and that was an easy one," he said. "You can't let the easy ones go, especially in this game, as quick as it moves. Every pass needs to be completed in this type of league."
Jeffers-Harris had a lot of company in the ball-dropping department as receivers Adarius Bowman (in the end zone), Cory Watson and Jabari Arthur, as well as Emmanuel Marc also blew easy catches.
BREAKING IMPACT ICE: Winnipeg punter Mike Renaud — who has returned after a season-ending knee injury — made a diving, touchdown-saving tackle on Montreal returner Patrick Cobourne.
"It's not going to be an issue all year," he said. "If it happens, it's just going to be one of those things. My knee is 100% so if it happened to my left knee, it would be unfortunate.
"It was kind of nice to get get it out and get into the impact mode and break the ice in terms of getting hit and making tackles. I felt fine and it didn't even go through my head. That's the most important thing — not thinking about that."
A REAL ATTACK: You think the Bombers might be excited about this year's offence under the new regime? On Winnipeg's opening drive, QB Buck Pierce led them on an 11-play drive that was punctuated by a touchdown.
"We started off with an 11-play drive and I think that was nine more than we had all last year," said veteran centre Obby Khan.
SCHEDULE: The Bombers will take Monday off before returning to two-a-days at the stadium on Tuesday. They play the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton in their next pre-season match on Sunday.