Many happy returns for Bombers

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:18 AM ET

WINNIPEG - He is hoping to become Winnipeg’s own ‘Neon Deon.’

Import defensive back Deon Beasley has earned back his job as the Blue Bombers’ primary kick returner and he would love to draw comparisons to former NFL returner ‘Neon Deion’ Sanders.

“Yeah, something like that would be fun,” Beasley said Monday.

Beasley led the Bombers with a 19.6-yard kickoff return average last season but has watched as others, such as Perry Floyd, tried to assume those duties.

“I wouldn’t say I lost it, I had a little nicks here and there and I wasn’t fully healthy,” said Beasley, 23. “Stuff happens and I’m happy to be back and I’m happy to be able to try to do something for the team. I try to take one to the house every game.”

With Jovon Johnson still being hobbled by a bad ankle, Beasley may even get a starting spot back in the secondary against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats this Friday.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” said the 5-foot-10, 180-pound University of Texas product. “Wherever I play, wherever they put me, I will try to make plays in some form or fashion.”

But Beasley could still be pushed as a kick returner as Chris Garrett has returned to the fold. The 5-foot-8, 185-pound Ohio U. product returned seven kickoffs for 139 yards for Winnipeg last season, but was cut in training camp this year.

“Yeah, I am surprised because the team was doing well but when I got the call, I thought it was worth my time to step back and I’m here and I want to step up,” Garrett said.

CAREER REVIVAL: Michel-Pierre Pontbriand helped Laval win the 2006 Vanier Cup, graduated in 2007, did not get drafted and became a high school teacher/football coach. But the 6-foot-2, 227-pound fullback got recruited to play for the national football team that represented Canada at the 2011 world championship, winning a silver medal in Austria this summer. His play there led to a career-reviving call from the Bombers.

“I keep myself in shape all year long and when the coach (McMaster’s Greg Marshall) called me, I said, ‘Absolutely, I’m in shape,’” Pontbriand, 28, said. “It will be a very good experience for me.”

It was. The Canuck coaches recommended him to Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice.

“(They said Pontbriand) was probably the guy who had the best chance to be a pro,” LaPolice said. “He gives us depth. He’s a bigger body and can possibly play fullback.”

HASHMARKS: LB Marcellus Bowman (foot) sat out Monday’s practice and will likely miss Tuesday’s, then be re-evaluated … DL Doug Brown (toe) practised but will also be checked out before being confirmed to return … Bombers cut nonimport S Jason Nugent.


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