April 26, 2012
Bombers find their kick returner
By PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency
WINNIPEG - He was a day late after missing his flight, Wednesday, but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers hope Chad Simpson is the dynamic kick returner they've been looking for.
Simpson, a 26-year-old who carries an NFL pedigree, arrived for Day 2 of mini-camp, Thursday, and immediately flashed some of the skills the Bombers hope translate into big things this season.
“He had a lot of tools,” head coach Paul LaPolice said after watching Simpson’s first workout. “That’s why Mr. Mack signed him and we’re excited about it. We want to get him ingrained into the offence and learn. He’s been a great kickoff returner. We want to get him to learn punts, too, and see if he can compete to be a backup or even a DI (designated import) spot.”
Simpson isn’t expected to unseat Chris Garrett as Winnipeg’s starting tailback. But he could serve as a backup while returning kicks, an area the Bombers were lacking in last season.
“My goal is to help the team, affect this team a great deal,” Simpson said. “Between me and Chris, of course I would like to be the No. 1 guy. But he’s a great back. We can compliment each other well.”
At 5-foot-9, 216 pounds, Simpson is even thicker than Garrett, and plays a similar style.
“He’s very similar to Chris,” LaPolice said. “He’s got great quickness and acceleration. We’ve got two young kids who can really move.”
A product of Miami via Morgan State College, Simpson appeared in 25 games with the Indianapolis Colts in 2008-09, and played three more with Washington in 2010.
His career NFL numbers include 55 kickoff returns for a 23.7-yard average and a touchdown, in addition to 30 carries for 147 yards and three touchdowns along the ground.
In college — he transferred to Morgan State from South Florida — Simpson set a single-season school rushing record with 1,402 yards as a senior.
Camp Notes: Quarterback Joey Elliott missed a second straight day of mini-camp after injuring a quad while working out... Canadian running back Anthony Woodson worked out as a receiver today... The camp, open to the public, runs one more day, Friday, from 10:30 to noon at Canad-Inns Stadium.