Hefney Bombers' energizer

Ken Wiebe, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:17 AM ET

Being energetic on the football field comes naturally for Jonathan Hefney.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive back is never one to shy away from a heated exchange and is more than happy to lay out an opponent with a bone-jarring hit when one presents itself.

“I’ve always been the one who loved to be challenged or talked (crap) to somebody,” said Hefney, now in his third season with the Blue and Gold. “That’s just been me because I never back down from anything. I was always smaller than everybody else.

“As far as my energy, that’s always been in me. My mom, Cornetta Wilmore, was a live wire. Until she was 40 or 50, she played softball. And when I got to Tennessee (in the NCAA) I found a little mean streak in me.”

During an NFL tryout with the Philadelphia Eagles, Hefney also spent a lot of time watching the way safety Brian Dawkins conducted himself on and off the field.

“He’s very intense and he means everything he says,” said Hefney. “He’s outspoken, I’m not that type, but watching him in the locker-room and on the field, he plays with passion and that’s what I’m blessed to do.”

After spending time on the Detroit Lions practice roster last season, Hefney rejoined the Blue Bombers down the stretch and appeared in six games — though he didn’t quite reach his 2009 level when he was a CFL All-star and named the East representative for top rookie.

“I just had fun and played the game,” said Hefney. “I came back from the NFL and was a little riled up still, but that’s how I’m still playing right now. Nothing much has changed.”

Being back for the beginning of training camp and fitting right into the Swaggerville secondary has its obvious benefits.

“It’s big because his energy out there is contagious,” said Blue Bombers defensive back Jovon Johnson. “The way he plays the game, he’s a physical guy, he likes to get in people’s faces and for me, it makes my job easier because more people are worried about him, it allows me to be free and do what I do.”

With the Blue Bombers defence earning praise around the league for their high level of play, Hefney deserves some kudos of his own.

Not only is he sitting fourth in the CFL in tackles through three weeks with 19 (Jamall Johnson of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats is first with 22), Hefney showed his versatility during the first two weeks of the season, filling in at linebacker for the injured Clint Kent.

“He brings an attitude to our team and he makes plays,” said Blue Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice. “He’s come in and really been a good player for us. We’re excited to have him and he’s been one of the (guys) who has helped us defensively.”

The Blue Bombers (2-1) face the Toronto Argonauts (1-2) on Saturday at Rogers Centre at 3 p.m. (CJOB, TSN).

Up Close and Personal

Jonathan Hefney

Position: Defensive back

Age: 26

Born: Rock Hill, S.C.

Height: 5-foot-9

Weight: 190 pounds

College: Tennessee

Season: Third in CFL

Signed as a free agent by Blue Bombers on May 6 of 2009

Appeared in 6 games with Winnipeg in 2010, making 25 tackles and another two on special teams, also had two interceptions

Spent time on practice roster of the Detroit Lions early in 2010

Had NFL tryouts with Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles in 2009 before joining Blue Bombers

Started 18 games with Blue Bombers in 2009, making 66 tackles, five on special teams and adding four interception

Was a CFL All-Star and East Division Most Outstanding Rookie in 2009


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