Bombers keep on inking

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:48 AM ET

WINNIPEG - On a day when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers re-signed their third quarterback of the off-season, they also got closer to bringing back another player to protect them.

Already believed to be nearing a deal with right tackle Glenn January, the Bombers were also making progress on a new contract for right guard Steve Morley on Monday, according to agent Darren Gill.

While securing Morley would be a positive step for the Bombers, losing left guard Brendon LaBatte would be a significant blow. All signs indicate Winnipeg’s top offensive lineman from the last three seasons will become a free agent on Wednesday at 11 a.m. One CFL source said the Bombers aren’t even in the running anymore because of LaBatte’s price tag, which only increased last week when Simeon Rottier signed a $140,000 deal with the Edmonton Eskimos.

One player who won’t be free on Wednesday is quarterback Alex Brink, who is moving up in the world. Last season the former Washington State quarterback entered training camp at No. 3 on the depth chart after a disastrous 2010 campaign. This year he will go in as the backup, which played a part in his decision to re-sign with the Blue and Gold on Monday after Buck Pierce and Joey Elliott had already done so.

GM Joe Mack figured getting all three potential free-agent pivots to re-sign would be difficult, but it turned out to be relatively easy.

Brink, who is entering his third season with the Bombers, isn’t worried about the crowded quarterback stable, which also includes Justin Goltz and Brandon Summers.

“My conversations with Mr. Mack and coach (Paul) LaPolice indicated that I’m going to have an opportunity to compete with those guys, that I will come into camp as the backup, and that’s part of the expectation in re-signing,” Brink said Monday from Redondo Beach, Calif., where he was visiting Goltz.

Brink, who signed a two-year deal, fell behind Elliott on the depth chart after a rough 2010 season in which he completed just four of 18 attempts in his only start. He caught a break in 2011, however, when Elliott went down with a torn ACL in the third game of the season.

Brink got plenty of practice reps and appeared in eight games, completing 89 of 140 attempts for 1,023 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions. He also served as Winnipeg’s short-yardage quarterback, plunging for six touchdowns.

Making the situation even sweeter for Brink is his relationship with new offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton. The two of them worked together at Peyton and Eli’s Manning Passing Academy for three summers when Brink was in college.

“I certainly wanted to see who we hired before I put him name on the dotted line, so to speak,” Brink said. “I know coach Crowton … and that was a real positive on top of the fact he’s a great football mind and great at developing quarterbacks. It’s a phenomenal hire.”

LATE HITS: Defensive tackle Don Oramasionwu and receiver Aaron Hargreaves will both become free agents on Wednesday, according to Gill … Import receiver Greg Carr will also test free agency … Winnipeg’s other remaining potential free agent is left tackle Andre Douglas … Toronto signed Canadian offensive lineman Marc Parenteau on Monday. The Saskatchewan Roughriders released him last week … B.C. Lions running back Jamall Lee announced his retirement on Monday after just three CFL seasons.


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