WINNIPEG - Pierre-Luc Labbe figures it’s now or never.
Now in his fifth season with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Labbe is locked in a battle with 2011 first overall draft pick Henoc Muamba to be the starting middle linebacker.
During the off-season, Labbe worked with a personal trainer and added about 11 pounds to his frame and also took English lessons as a way to communicate better with his teammates and the media.
“I don’t want to have any regrets, that’s why I did all of those things in the off-season,” said Labbe, whose only starts as a pro came last season in the East final and Grey Cup. I feel ready, more than ever. Physically and mentally. I’ve grown a lot. That’s why I feel so confident that I can do the job and help the team win.”
Blue Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice said the fact Labbe took English lessons shows his commitment and noted his “intelligence” was his biggest strength as a player.
Defensive backs Jovon Johnson and Jonathan Hefney arrived at training camp and are expected to be on the field on Tuesday morning.
Defensive end Jason Vega suffered a minor lower-body injury early in Monday’s session but said he would be back on the field tomorrow. Defensive back Brandon Stewart, who is coming back from an ankle injury, sat out the second half of the session but is also expected back on the field on Tuesday.
The Blue Bombers are back on the field Tuesday morning at Canad Inns Stadium as they prepare for their first pre-season game against the Montreal Alouettes on June 14 at Molson Stadium.