Kicker true Blue Bomber

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:16 AM ET

WINNIPEG - Justin Palardy had to endure a series of gut-wrenching emotions as a rookie in the CFL.

But it was his desire to bounce back after getting cut and ability to split the uprights on a regular basis that endeared him to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and is why he was signed to a contract extension by the CFL club on Tuesday.

After starting the 2010 campaign as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats punter, Palardy found himelf out of work five games later.

Oddly enough, thats when his season took a turn for the better.

Palardy won an open audition to replace Alexis Serna, was signed as a free agent on Aug. 15 and quickly earned the trust of head coach Paul LaPolice.

I was very fortunate the Blue Bombers gave me the opportunity to come in and play with them, Palardy said in a telephone interview from Halifax on Tuesday morning. It was a roller-coaster ride. I got drafted (by the Tiger-Cats) and then got released, thinking Id never play again. Then I got picked up and it couldnt have worked out any better.

Palardy appeared in 11 games with the Blue and Gold and set a franchise record for accuracy, making 26 of 30 attempts (86.7%).

Its great. Im happy to be back with the Blue Bombers moving forward and excited to see what 2011 brings, said Palardy. I just kept a good head. I didnt worry about the negatives and just focused on the positives, always working to get better.

As for the long-standing belief that Winnipeg is one of the tougher places to kick, Palardy experienced it first-hand but handled himself well.

There were times when you couldnt hit a 30-yard field goal, the wind gets pretty crazy there, he said. But you dont think about it. You put a good foot on the ball and hope for the best and try to keep it as straight as possible. Its something I hope to master over my career here and just have fun with it.

Although he understands the Blue Bombers are set at punter with fellow non-import Mike Renaud, Palardy has been working on his punting during the off-season, just in case.

Im going to continue to develop it and if need be, Im capable of being a dual guy, said Palardy. Weve got Mike Renaud now, but Im definitely a good emergency guy. Ill have that in my back pocket.

The Blue Bombers also signed offensive lineman Chris Greaves to an extension.

Greaves, a sixth-round pick by the Blue Bombers in the 2010 CFL Canadian Draft, made the move from the defensive line to offensive line last year and appeared in five games starting against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Labour Day.

One of our top priorities has been to ensure that we have a talented group of non-imports on our roster, Blue Bombers general manager Joe Mack said in a press release. Both Justin and Chris are talented Canadians who will be beneficial to our football team for many years.

HASHMARKS: A report on www.foxsports.com suggests the Minnesota Vikings have interest in signing Blue Bombers defensive end Phillip Hunt, who led the CFL with 16 sacks last season. With pass rushers Ray Edwards and Brian Robison unsigned for next season, the report says Hunt might be a logical fit. Hunt, who has 19 sacks over the past two seasons, worked out for the Vikings, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles in December.

ken.wiebe@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/WiebeSunSports


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