Bombers FB Pontbriand a 'believer'

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

WINNIPEG - It's not quite a remake of the movie The Rookie, but it's close.

The Bombers are going to activate fullback Michel-Pierre Pontbriand for Sunday's Banjo Bowl clash against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at a sold-out Canad Inns Stadium.

What makes Pontbriand's story unique is the fact he has been a teacher and football coach in Quebec City for the last four years. Pitcher Jim Morris had also been a teacher when he made his Major League Baseball debut for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1999 at the age of 35.

Pontbriand is seven years younger than Morris, but it appeared his football dream was over years ago.

"It's very, very fantastic. It's great. I'm very proud of that," Pontbriand said Friday. "It's an accomplishment for me. Sometimes in life you don't know if you can do it, but in my head I'm a believer."

Pontbriand, who won three Vanier Cups with the powerhouse Laval Rouge et Or between 2003 and 2007, returned to football this past summer when he suited up for Canada at the International Federation of American Football Senior World Championship in Austria. He was the special teams captain for Canada, which lost the final to the U.S.

Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice heard about Pontbriand's skills and football intelligence from Greg Marshall, the University of Western Ontario coach who as the offensive co-ordinator for Canada at the world championship. The Bombers added him to their practice roster on Aug. 17, and on Sunday he'll play special teams against the Roughriders.

Pontbriand first asked his bosses at his school if it was OK for him to go to Winnipeg.

"It's a passion to teach kids how to play the game and how to become men. It's very important," Pontbriand said. "I asked them if it's OK (to leave) for a dream, because it's a dream here."

LaPolice is interested to see what Pontbriand can do in a game situation.

"He's got good intelligence because he's been away from the game a little bit, and he understands what pro football's about," LaPolice said. "Also, fullback is an area we're trying to develop, and there's not many out there."

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