Garrett the Big Apple of Blue Bombers' eye

Chris Garrett (right) has big aspirations in 2012 as the No. 1 running back in the Blue Bombers...

Chris Garrett (right) has big aspirations in 2012 as the No. 1 running back in the Blue Bombers lineup. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency file photo)

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:49 PM ET

WINNIPEG - Under the heading What a Difference a Year Makes, Chris Garrett touched down in Winnipeg, Tuesday, a new man.

A training camp hopeful in 2011, the running back became a training camp casualty when the Blue Bombers cut him loose and thanked him for coming out.

By fall he was back, throwing his own coming-out party by replacing an injured Fred Reid and leading the Bombers to the Grey Cup game with one of the more memorable playoff performances in franchise history, a 190-yard epic in the East Final win over Hamilton.

New York City born, Garrett is suddenly the big apple on his team — and it seemed to happen in a New York minute.

“I’m going to have an awesome season,” Garrett told the Sun. “If I can stay injury free. I’m looking to pick up where I left off.”

Extrapolate his 576 yards in six regular-season games over an 18-game season, and you get an idea what Garrett is talking about.

“I’m shooting for the stars,” the 25-year-old said. “With the guys around me... I’ve got a pretty good chance of being one of the best backs in the league. I don’t want to put my foot in my mouth. I can’t give you a number.

“I hope to be No. 1 in rushing yards. But... as long as my team’s winning, it doesn’t matter about my stats. As long as we get back to the Grey Cup.”

Despite being firmly entrenched as the starting tailback, Garrett agreed to take part in this week’s mini-camp, seeing it as a chance to mingle with fans and teammates, maybe build on the chemistry he established last year.

There’s something else he’d like to build on: his entry-level CFL contract.

If Garrett becomes one of the league’s top rushers, he’ll also be one of its best bargains, as the Bombers have not approached him about redoing his deal, entering the option year.

“I’ve kind of outplayed it,” he said, chuckling. “I thought some things were going to change. Nothing has changed.

“I don’t like to get into that stuff too much. I like to let my performance on the field speak for itself. But I’m not a selfish player. I still have a contract, and I’m going to play it out. I signed it, so that’s what I’m playing for.”

And if he has a big year, look out.

“If that happened, I can bargain, pretty much, with that. That’s down the road.”

A road he’s rather enjoying.

“It’s been a long journey, but by far I’m not done,” he said. “I know there are going to be guys up there gunning for my position. But overall, it’s a great feeling.”


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