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.

Im going to have an awesome season, Garrett told the Sun. If I can stay injury free. Im 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.

Im shooting for the stars, the 25-year-old said. With the guys around me... Ive got a pretty good chance of being one of the best backs in the league. I dont want to put my foot in my mouth. I cant give you a number.

I hope to be No. 1 in rushing yards. But... as long as my teams winning, it doesnt 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 weeks mini-camp, seeing it as a chance to mingle with fans and teammates, maybe build on the chemistry he established last year.

Theres something else hed like to build on: his entry-level CFL contract.

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

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

I dont like to get into that stuff too much. I like to let my performance on the field speak for itself. But Im not a selfish player. I still have a contract, and Im going to play it out. I signed it, so thats what Im playing for.

And if he has a big year, look out.

If that happened, I can bargain, pretty much, with that. Thats down the road.

A road hes rather enjoying.

Its been a long journey, but by far Im not done, he said. I know there are going to be guys up there gunning for my position. But overall, its a great feeling.


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