Bombers' little big man

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:28 AM ET

WINNIPEG - At first glance, you’d swear Charlie Roberts was back. Either that, or Milt Stegall’s son snuck into practice.

How else do you explain the little guy wearing No. 1, the size of most American nine-year-olds, juking this way and that on the Blue Bomber offence?

“Vaguely familiar,” D-lineman Doug Brown was saying, Tuesday.

“It looks like the Blink guy,” receiver Terrence Edwards added.

Does it ever.

Then you approach the diminutive receiver for an interview, and you quickly realize this is an impostor.

At 5-foot-5, 168 pounds, Perry Floyd may do a reasonable job of impersonating Winnipeg’s career rushing leader when the ball’s in his hands, but he’s miserable at it in the media scrums after practice.

Because he actually stops to talk, instead of sneaking out through the refs’ room under the west-side stands.

“This is kind of cool,” Floyd said, grinning.

And with that, a grumpy, jaded columnist was won over.

Whether or not Floyd wins the fans over and makes anybody forget about the hall-of-fame bound No. 1 is another story.

“As little as those shoes are,” Brown said of his old teammate. “They’re still very big to fill. He (Floyd) should be so honoured, the fact you’re even interviewing me in this regard. That’s a long way to go, a lot of 1,000-yard seasons and multiple all-star awards. Right now the biggest familiarity is the stature and the number. Hopefully, he lives up to the rest of it.”

For his part, Floyd isn’t too interested in comparisons, although he is aware he’s following in the lightning-quick footsteps of some kind of local legend.

“I heard a great man used to wear it,” Floyd said of his jersey. “I hear we’re a little different, but our styles are similar. That’s fine. That’s for the fans to do, and for everyone else. I worry about Perry Floyd. And I worry about the Blue Bombers. I don’t worry about anything else.”

Raw rookie

Actually, the raw rookie did worry about making the team, sitting by the phone on the weekend and waiting all day for a call that never came.

“I changed my phone number, so they didn’t have the number,” Floyd said. “I came to the meetings, and didn’t hear anything so I kind of thought I was OK. Then somebody else told me they saw the depth charts.

“I felt great. I’ve never really felt like that in my life.”

Like Roberts, Floyd is a record-setting product of NCAA Div. II football, fresh out of Wingate University in North Carolina, where last season he set a school record for all-purpose yards.

But the similarities seem to end with the whistle.

Roberts was the most electrifying, tackle-evading and, yes, infuriating back ever to take a handoff for the Big Blue. The only thing he missed more than tackles was appointments.

And he spent his paycheque faster than he hit the hole.

“He’s more quiet, laid-back,” Edwards said of Floyd. “Charlie was more showboat and loud, ‘Look at me.’ They’re apples and oranges. Same size and build, but personality-wise they’re totally on opposite ends of the spectrum.

“He’s come here to work. Charlie came here and played. When he played, though, Charlie played. If he can do half as well as Charlie did, he’s going to have a good career.”

Describing himself as “a little country kid from North Carolina,” Floyd says playing ball for a living is about as good as it gets.

Equal parts receiver and kick returner in college, he’ll take back kickoffs in Hamilton, Friday.

“Oh, man. Years of hard work finally paid off,” Floyd said. “You dream about things like this as a kid.”

As Edwards said, if he’s half as good as Blink, he’ll be fine.

He’s already twice as much fun to talk to.


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