Bombers LB coming on strong

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:25 PM ET

WINNIPEG - This was one drive Clint Kent doesn’t regret making.

Roughly 18 months removed from ACL surgery in early 2010, the former Alouettes import was looking to get himself back into the CFL.

Justin Riscotti, the quarterback at James Madison University when Kent played in the NCAA, had a private workout scheduled in Louisville and passed along praise for Kent to Bombers director of player personnel Ken Moll.

The vote of confidence was good enough for Moll, Kent hopped in his car and quickly turned some heads.

“I drove six hours, had the workout and a couple of days later they offered me a contract,” said Kent, in his second season as the starting SAM linebacker for the Bombers.

After sitting out the first two games of the 2011 season with an ankle injury, Kent hasn’t missed a beat upon his return — with 11 tackles, three special teams tackles and a sack over the past three weeks.

“My performance has been pretty good, but it’s a long season and as the season rolls along it will pick up,” said Kent. “When I was out of football two years (because of a knee injury), I busted my butt to get back to this point and now I’m a full-time starter. The hard work is paying off. It feels good.”

Prior to joining the Blue and Gold, Kent played four games in Finland, leading his team to the championship while claiming MVP honours while playing defensive back, wide receiver and serving as kick returner.

“Basically I went there for a month to get some film and to see how my knee felt,” said Kent. “It was a great experience and gave me confidence knowing me knee was 100%.”

Kent appeared in 17 games last season and quickly emerged as one of the leaders on the Bomber defence.

“He was out of football a year ago before we brought him in and now he’s the captain of our team — and it’s great for him. It’s well deserved,” said Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice. “We found some film of him way back when he was a starter in Montreal and he wasn’t the fastest guy, but he came in and just kept making plays. Ever since he’s started, he hasn’t relinquished his spot and he’s really been impressive, as a run stopper, a blitzer, a coverage player with great football instincts.”

“He’s like our general out there,” added Bomber defensive back Jovon Johnson. “He’s probably the most athletic guy we have, the most dependable. We definitely need him out there.”

Kent’s versatility isn’t lost on defensive co-ordinator Tim Burke.

“The thing he brings to us is a sense of stability,” said Burke. “He’s a guy who has a lot of football sense and is a smart guy.”

The Bombers and Edmonton Eskimos meet Friday at Canad Inns Stadium at 6:30 p.m.


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