Bombers won’t play name game

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:44 PM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have two starting receivers from Georgia with the same first name.

They are Terrence Edwards, the veteran who hails from Tennille, Ga., and Terence Jeffers-Harris, the fresh-faced rookie from Lawrenceville, Ga., 200 km to the northwest.

There won’t be any confusion in the locker-room, however.

“His name is T.J., and I’m Terrence,” Edwards said matter of factly. “Because I’m the oldest I get to stick with my name.”

It doesn’t sound like the youngster had much of a say in the matter, either.

“Yeah, he’s all right with being called T.J.,” the 31-year-old Edwards said. “I think he’s always been called T.J. If he wasn’t, he’s going to be called T.J. now.

“He’s gotta respect his elders and be called T.J.”

On Saturday afternoon at Canad Inns Stadium, the newly minted version of the 2010 Bombers will hit the practice field for the first time to begin preparations for Friday’s season- and home-opener against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

How the receiving corps bounces back after a rough 2009 campaign will likely go a long way in determining how the Bombers do this season.

Last year, thanks to the team’s woeful quarterback situation, Winnipeg had only 256 pass completions, or 98 fewer than the seventh-place Calgary Stampeders.

Now with Buck Pierce at the controls and two promising young pass catchers in Jeffers-Harris and Cory Watson, Edwards believes good things are in store.

“We’re learning coach’s system and the way he wants to do things,” Edwards said. “We’ve got a great group of guys that are willing to learn. We’ve got a great mesh of all type of athletes: big, tall, short, fast, willing to make plays and sacrifice for the team.”

Edwards, who had his 1,000-yard season streak snapped at two last year, has not been afraid to put on a teacher’s hat this year.

“They come to me since I’m the oldest guy, and I try to tell them, in the game and in practice, things to work on and things to expect,” Edwards said. “I just try to take everyone under my wing, all the young guys, because we need all of them to get where we want to go.”

Edwards is paying close attention to his fellow Georgian, Jeffers-Harris, in particular.

“He’s learning, he’s willing to learn, and he wants to be good,” Edwards said. “He’s done a great job. He’s big, he’s physical, he’s fast. He’s still learning the game, but once he learns everything he’s going to be pretty good.”

BACK AT IT: Jovon Johnson doesn’t like seeing anyone cut, but Travis Shelton’s release earlier this week means the cornerback gets to return punts and missed field goals once again this season.

“It feels good, going into it on Day 1 knowing that I’m going to be back there,” Johnson said. “It makes the preparation a lot different. I just gotta be focused and go back there and just try to have continued success.”

Johnson took both a punt return and a missed field goal return to the house last year in only half a season of doing the job. He believes he’ll be back at top form right away, even though he didn’t play in either pre-season game due to a knee injury.

“I’m always ready,” Johnson said. “I’ve been working hard and training hard this off-season to be in shape to go. I’ll be ready come Day 1.”

One duty he won’t be performing is returning kickoffs.

“It’s fine with me,” Johnson said with a smile. “It’ll give me a breather.”

The tryout for the kickoff return jobs will continue at Saturday’s practice, which runs from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Stadium.

LATE HITS: Six teams named their practice rosters on Friday. Even though they said they were going to do it on Friday as well, the Bombers weren’t one of them. They were apparently unable to finalize the list … Notable names on CFL practice rosters include former Manitoba Bisons defensive tackle and Winnipeg native Eddie Steele (Hamilton), former Bomber special teamer Steven Holness (Montreal), Canadian quarterback Danny Brannagan (Toronto) and defensive end Adam Braidwood (Edmonton). Steele’s practice roster placement means there’s a chance he won’t be returned to the Bisons after all … Former Oak Park Raiders running back Andrew Harris has cracked B.C.’s 46-man roster.


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