Bombers bid RBs goodbye

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:57 PM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers officially lost two free agents on Thursday, but talks with their last two are continuing.

Bombers assistant GM Ross Hodgkinson heard back from the Obby Khan camp and is “optimistic” about the negotiations. Hodgkinson noted that the centre being in Pakistan on vacation slows down the process considerably.

Middle linebacker Joe Lobendahn is Winnipeg’s other remaining free agent. His agent said earlier in the week it was unlikely his client would be back with the Bombers and that three other teams were interested.

Now it appears there isn’t much appeal in the Hawaiian, and talks to re-join the Bombers, according to a source, weren’t going well at last report.

As expected, the Bombers said goodbye to a pair of running backs. Import Yvenson Bernard signed with the Montreal Alouettes, while Canadian Daryl Stephenson joined the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Bernard spent the last two seasons behind Fred Reid on the Winnipeg depth chart and now has a chance to grab the Alouettes starting job since Avon Cobourne signed in Hamilton.

“I just want to play,” Bernard told The Gazette. “It has been two long seasons. I’m excited with this opportunity and am ready to be back on the field.”

FAMILIAR FACE: The B.C. Lions have extended a training camp invitation to former Bombers quarterback Stefan LeFors.

LeFors was Winnipeg’s starting quarterback at the start of the 2009 season under head coach Mike Kelly, but the situation deteriorated after only a few games. LeFors got hurt, was asked to take a pay cut and eventually had season-ending surgery.

“He’s a sharp guy, intelligent, and he has experience,” Lions coach and GM Wally Buono told the Vancouver media. “Jacques (offensive co-ordinator Chapdelaine) worked with him in Edmonton and speaks highly of him.”

LATE HITS: The Saskatchewan Roughriders signed free agent Canadian offensive lineman George Hudson, formerly of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats … The Ticats officially inked linebacker Renauld Williams (Saskatchewan), essentially ending Otis Floyd’s days in Steeltown, and also grabbed Canadian offensive lineman Wayne Smith (Saskatchewan) … The Alouettes re-signed linebacker Ramon Guzman and also inked Canadian safety Tad Crawford (B.C.).


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