Just one small problem

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:07 AM ET

It turns out there was one small, minor, tiny detail when it came to linebacker Derrick Doggett’s return to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

He couldn’t play linebacker. As a result, the Blue and Gold released the special teams ace on Thursday morning.

Doggett was let go Thursday was because it was determined weak-side linebacker Marcellus Bowman is unable to start on Saturday in Calgary due to a hand injury. Courtney Smith will take his place, and the Bombers weren’t comfortable with Doggett serving as his backup.

“We had to make a decision,” head coach Paul LaPolice said. “With Derrick not being able to be our third-string (weak-side) linebacker … you have to actually have a role to be here.”

Doggett was a strong special teams tackler, but you have to be able to do more when you play for LaPolice and GM Joe Mack. LaPolice said Doggett’s absence won’t have a big impact on the cover teams, even though Winnipeg didn’t allow a return touchdown in the two games Doggett played after giving up three in the first pair of contests.

“One person won’t make your special teams better,” he said. “It is a collective group. It’s a collective unit. Getting Brady Browne back (he started at safety the last two weeks) and with the play of our special teams improving, we feel that we’ll be OK.”

Merrill Johnson, who has been on and off the practice roster since training camp, will go on the roster and be one of Smith’s backups along with Pierre-Luc Labbe.

Doggett, who had a failed tryout with the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers in the off-season, returned to the Bombers on July 10 and had one special teams tackle in two games.

LaPolice said Doggett might have been able to stick around if the Bombers used a Canadian kicker.

DOUBLE DUTY: Speaking of the kicker, Alexis Serna will do both the placekicking and the punting on Saturday since Mike Renaud is out with a bruised knee.

Serna punted in his rookie season of 2008, averaging 42.1 yards, and he did it for a game and a half last October before then head coach Mike Kelly brought Troy Westwood back for the rest of the season.

The Oregon State product believes he’s now mentally strong enough to do both.

“Punting’s not my forte, so if I mishit a ball it doesn’t really get me down as much,” Serna said. “I’m more ready to come out there and hit the next ball better. I’ve taken that mentality with kicking, so it’s helped me out a lot. So I really do enjoy punting.”

FAMILIAR FOE: LaPolice on Thursday finally admitted that Steven Jyles will start at quarterback for the Blue and Gold on Saturday in Calgary.

“The nice thing about it is being in Saskatchewan last year, he saw (the Stamps) four times — five times with the pre-season — so he’s got a good feel for some of the game plans and how we try to attack them,” LaPolice said. “So that’s a good thing that we noticed this week.”

LATE HITS: LaPolice returns to McMahon Stadium for the first time since last year’s Grey Cup, where he famously slammed his hat down after the too-many-men penalty. “That’s in the past, boys,” he said. “That’s on the ESPYs and YouTube.” … The Bombers, who play four of their next five games on the road, practised with noise blaring over the Canad Inns Stadium speakers this week … The Miami Dolphins have released former Calgary offensive lineman Dimitri Tsoumpas, whose rights are still owned by the Stamps … Stamps receiver P.K. Sam needs arthroscopic knee surgery and won’t play against Saturday.


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