Bombers re-sign January but lose Carr
By KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
|Calgary Stampeders' quarterback Drew Tate (L) sends a kiss towards Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Glenn January after the Stampeders defeated the Blue Bombers 30-24 in their CFL football game in Calgary, Alberta, Nov. 5, 2011. REUTERS/Todd Korol
WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Blue Bombers made the first official move of CFL free agency on Wednesday, but that was the only good news of the day for the Blue and Gold.
The Bombers re-signed import offensive lineman Glenn January, but then they ended up losing out in import receiver Greg Carr after agreeing to terms on a new deal.
And their top priority, offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte, appears headed home to Saskatchewan.
Carr was close to signing a new deal with the Bombers two weeks ago, but last week his agent, Keenan Davis, said his client was headed to free agency. Despite that, the Bombers and Carr agreed to terms on a new deal Wednesday afternoon.
“Greg has some good news for Bombers fans,” Davis said in an e-mail.
Shortly after that, though, the Edmonton Eskimos swooped in with even more money and Carr, a 6-foot-6 receiver, apparently changed his mind.
LaBatte is being hotly pursued by at least the Bombers, Saskatchewan Roughriders and Edmonton Eskimos. A CFL source said LaBatte’s decision might not happen until Thursday or Friday. LaBatte told the Winnipeg Sun via text message he doesn’t want to talk until he makes a decision.
The January move was expected for days, and he became the second Bomber offensive lineman to re-sign with the club in two days. Canadian guard Steve Morley re-upped with the team on Tuesday.
January and Morley both originally signed with the Bombers on the first day of free agency in 2009. January missed the 2010 season with a torn pectoral muscle, but he bounced back in 2011 at right tackle and was named an East Division all-star.
The Bombers lost Winnipeg native and defensive tackle Don Oramasionwu, who signed with the Edmonton Eskimos on Wednesday. Oramasionwu, who played for the University of Manitoba Bisons, was drafted as a potential replacement for the retiring Doug Brown, but the new Bomber regime wasn’t interested in that happening.
“Kavis Reed asked me to make Donny a priority as soon as we began discussing potential free agents,” Eskimos GM Eric Tillman said in a press release. “He played for Kavis in Winnipeg where they developed a very strong relationship. Quality Canadians are the backbone of all successful franchises, and at age 25 we feel he has tremendous upside.”
Two other members of the Bombers are now free agents: offensive lineman Andre Douglas and receiver Aaron Hargreaves. Hargreaves is free to explore his options, and the Bombers are moving on without Douglas, who wants to explore his NFL options.
The biggest fish in the free agent pool is Saskatchewan receiver Andy Fantuz.