Bombers kicking tires

Alexis Serna will likely get some competition for his placekicking job with the Bombers, but it...

Alexis Serna will likely get some competition for his placekicking job with the Bombers, but it won’t come in the form of former Argo Justin Medlock, who has bigger dreams. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI Agency file photos)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:55 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers want to bring in a new kicker to challenge or possibly replace the struggling Alexis Serna, but ones with CFL placekicking experience are few and far between.

The Bombers have been asking import Justin Medlock to join the Bombers for the last three weeks, but the former Toronto Argonauts kicker is waiting for another shot at an NFL contract.

Medlock had a banner rookie CFL campaign with the Argos in 2009, making 40 of 46 field goals for an impressive 87% success rate. He turned his solid play into off-season tryouts with the NFL’s Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions, but he failed to stick with either club.

“He kind of committed himself, at least for the near term, to trying to get back on an NFL roster,” Medlock’s agent, Frank Murtha, said Sunday from his summer home in Wisconsin. “He hasn’t ruled out playing in the CFL again at some point. At least for now, that is his plan.

“As far as any short-term help up there in Winnipeg, he’s not available, and we’ve had a few inquiries down here. Nothing that’s firm yet.”

Former Hamilton Tiger-Cats kicker Nick Setta, also an import, is another candidate. Murtha represented Setta when he played, but the kicker is apparently representing himself this year and wants to get back in the CFL. His price tag could be high, though.

The Bombers have, however, contacted former Saskatchewan Roughriders punter Louie Sakoda, who was a star placekicker for the University of Utah Utes, and they’ve also been in touch recently with Chris Gould, who played at the University of Virginia.

Head coach Paul LaPolice said after Saturday’s game that he “absolutely” would be bringing in a kicker to challenge or replace Serna, who missed two field goals in Saturday’s 29-22 loss to the Tiger-Cats.

On Sunday assistant GM Ross Hodgkinson simply said “we are and will continue to monitor our kicking situation at this time.”

No kidding.

Serna missed from 32 and 28 yards in the second quarter, swinging the game’s momentum in Hamilton’s favour. The Bombers and Tiger-Cats are tied for third in the East Division with 2-4 records and will meet again on Friday night at Canad Inns Stadium.

Serna, who is in his third season with the Bombers, has connected on eight of 14 field goal tries this season, or 57.1%. In 2009 he set a Bomber franchise record by making 81.6% of his attempts for the Blue and Gold.

The plucky California native has bounced back from adversity throughout his football career, and he plans to do it again.

“If people don’t know it by now, I’m one of the most resilient kickers in the league,” he said. “I never give up, and I’m always confident in myself, and I feel like I can do it still. That’s what I’m going to continue to do. I have confidence in what I do, and I’m going to keep trusting in it and just go out there and just start making kicks again.”

The timing of Serna’s struggles likely makes the situation better for him but worse for the Bombers if they’re looking to replace him. Players like Medlock are waiting for an NFL injury or release, and anyone worth his salt likely won’t be cut until the end of August.

It was apparent that LaPolice had lost faith in Serna even before his two misses on Saturday night. The Bombers could have tried a 52-yard field goal at the end of their first drive, but LaPolice opted to have Mike Renaud punt instead.

A week earlier in Calgary, LaPolice elected to punt instead of having Serna attempt a 53-yarder in calm conditions. Serna booted a 54-yard field goal, his career long, at McMahon Stadium in August 2009.

Making matters worse for Serna is that two of his misses this season have been returned for touchdowns. His misses have come from 28, 32 (twice), 40, 45 and 49, while his longest is a 45-yarder.

The Bombers return to the practice field on Tuesday.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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