WINNIPEG - They knew each other when they were teenagers in Montreal, and on Wednesday their contract extensions were announced at the same time.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are no doubt hoping Canadian receivers Cory Watson and Kito Poblah have many more great moments together during their CFL careers.
The Bombers gave three-year deals to Watson and Poblah, who are both projected to be starters this season, that will take them through the 2014 CFL campaign.
For Watson, it’s a reward for a breakout sophomore campaign in 2011 that resulted in 69 catches, 793 receiving yards and one touchdown. He also had three catches for 42 yards in the Grey Cup.
Watson, who was Winnipeg’s first draft pick in 2010, will earn north of $100,000 in the final two years of his deal.
The Bombers know what they have in the 28-year-old, but they can’t say the same about Poblah, who is getting a re-start on his original three-year deal that failed to get off the ground in 2011 because of injuries.
Poblah played in just three games due to knee and shoulder problems, but he’s big, he’s fast, and he’s a non-import. If he can stay healthy, Poblah is confident he’ll make a big impact.
“(Last year) was very humbling, and it actually fired a fuel in me that I don’t really feel like a lot of people are ready for,” said Poblah, who has been training young football players in Winnipeg since Jan. 15.
Poblah is 24 years old, and the Bombers gave away their first-round draft pick this year to pick him up in last May’s supplemental draft. The 6-foot-2, 213-pound Central Michigan product made 10 catches for 99 yards in three games, including nine for 89 in the Labour Day Classic.
Poblah believes his LDC performance, even though it consisted of a lot of short catches, shows how good he can be.
“I feel like just my effort and what I’ve shown in practice and in the Saskatchewan game, it kind of speaks for itself,” he said. “Even though it’s not that much, if you watch me you can see it.”
He’s not worried about the injury bug following him into 2012, either.
“I’ve never been hurt before last season,” Poblah said. “I’m actually glad I got it all out of the way. Hopefully this year there’s a lot of good things to come.”
Bombers GM Joe Mack obviously believes there are a lot of good things to come for Poblah.
“In the short duration in which he did play, we were very pleased,” Mack said in a press release. “His outing in Regina last season showed us all how much potential he has, and we’re excited to see him bring that level of play consistently in 2012.”
Poblah is also excited about the game plan new offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton is currently installing.
“The receivers have a lot more options in their routes, which I like a lot, which makes you be able to play around with the DB a lot more,” Poblah said. “However, with that in mind, you have to be on the same page with the quarterback, because that could just make things look very ugly.”