Just trying to get better

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:23 AM ET

Jesse Lumsden said thanks, but no thanks to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The free-agent Canadian running back informed Bombers assistant GM Ross Hodgkinson on Wednesday night that he was not joining the Blue and Gold, deciding instead to pursue another option in the CFL.

That option is believed to be the Calgary Stampeders, where Lumsden would also be closer to the Canadian bobsleigh team. The 28-year-old competed for Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The injury-prone tailback hasn't played since the season- opener of 2009, when, as a member of the Edmonton Eskimos, he suffered a season- ending shoulder injury on a hit from Winnipeg's Siddeeq Shabazz.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats drafted the 2004 Hec Crighton Award winner in 2005, but he has appeared in only 31 games over the last six seasons due to injury and two failed NFL tryouts. The Eskimos released him in May.

Hodgkinson said from the beginning the Bombers weren't going to get into a bidding war for Lumsden's services, and they stayed true to their word. They weren't even sure if he was going to be able to contribute anything anyway, given his injury history.

"I have a lot of respect for Jesse Lumsden based on the fact that he called me and he had a very frank conversation with me," Hodgkinson said. "And he's a very smart man. He's made his decision for the right reasons. ... Money wasn't going to be a determining factor."

Head coach Paul LaPolice even called Lumsden to deliver a sales pitch, but to no avail.

"I told him this is a good organization, an organization that's going in the right direction," LaPolice said. "That's our motto to any player we're going to talk to, that this is a good place run by good people."

Hodgkinson said the Lumsden pursuit was simply a high-profile case of the Bombers trying to get better and not necessarily a sign that they need a running back specifically.

"Any time you have the ability to potentially upgrade, particularly from a Canadian player standpoint, it's imperative that you pursue those opportunities," he said. "You try to leave no stone unturned. (Now) you move on to the next stone."

TSK, TSK: LaPolice wasn't exactly thrilled with receiver Chris Davis' touchdown celebration during the Banjo Bowl, where he used a towel as a bib and pretended to stuff food in his mouth, showing he was "hungry" for more touchdowns and more victories.

"We had a conversation about it," LaPolice said. "I'm not a big fan of those, and neither are most of our players."

The buttoned-down coach wants his players to act like they've been there before, although Davis got a reprieve for that exact reason.

"It's the first time he's been there as a Winnipeg Blue Bomber, so he maybe gets a free one," LaPolice said.

And if they're going to celebrate, LaPolice said, he wants them to be a little more creative.

"He didn't put the effort in like a Milt Stegall would back in the day in '02 and '03," he said.

LATE HITS: The Bombers (3-7) and Toronto Argos (5-5) meet on Sunday afternoon in a critical East Division clash at Rogers Centre. The Boatmen will be without running back Cory Boyd (concussion) and left tackle Rob Murphy (heel), but slotback Jeremaine Copeland (elbow) is expected to return to the lineup ... With Murphy out, rookie Joe Eppele is expected to start at left tackle and get some help from Calvin Armstrong ... Bomber defensive tackle Doug Brown didn't practise Thursday due to a first-degree ankle sprain, but he'll play Sunday ... LaPolice said returner Chris Garrett, who didn't field a single kickoff in the Banjo Bowl, could get some time with the offence on Sunday.


Videos

Photos