WINNIPEG - At this time last year, Glenn January wasn’t even sure if he was going to play another game for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Such is life when you’re coming off a lost 2010 campaign, the result of a torn pectoral muscle suffered in the first pre-season game of that year.
Not only did January reclaim his starting spot at right tackle, he started every game and was named an East Division all-star for the first time in his career.
Most importantly, he helped the Blue Bombers reach the Grey Cup.
“Anytime you reap the reward of your work, it means that much more for me,” said January. “You can’t rest on your laurels in this business. Last year was the most fun training camp I’ve ever done because I was happy to be playing football again. I had something very important to me taken away from me and there was no guarantee I would get it back.
“You always try to think about the future. Last year, I didn’t want to be thinking about the year before and this is no exception. Obviously, I’m coming into camp in a better place than I was last year on the depth chart, but I have to earn my position every day.”
With Brendon LaBatte gone via free agency and Obby Khan retired, the 29-year-old Texan is suddenly the most experienced lineman on the team.
Does that mean January is looking forward to taking on more of a leadership role this season?
“Obviously, there are some older guys that have left,” said January. “I’m not going to go in and appoint myself a leader. I hope to earn the respect of my teammates by what I put on the field and what I put in the film room. I’ve been trying to put forth a good example for the young guys. I’ve never been inclined to think that’s something you claim for yourself. It’s something that you earn.”
January is shifting from right tackle to left tackle this season, an important change that entails more than you might expect.
“It’s completely different,” said January. “It’s like going over to Europe and trying to drive a car over there. Everyone is on the opposite side. There are certain things you have to work through, but left tackle is not foreign to me. It’s where I played in university and I had some success at that position. I’ve had some experience down there and it’s just a matter of shaking out the cobwebs, remembering everything and getting the body to react to what the mind is telling it to do.
“There are some additional responsibilities at left tackle and there’s more pressure. But I tend to thrive on pressure and enjoy new challenges every now and again.”
Blue Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice confirmed he was pretty much sold on making the switch a permanent one.
“The left tackle is usually the guy that protects the blind side of the quarterback and (January) has the most experience playing tackle,” said LaPolice.
“He was a CFL all-star last year and we felt we could move (Andre) Douglas over to the right and get Glenn over to the left side to be our most stable tackle.”
3 STARS OF THE DAY
QB Buck Pierce was precise throughout the day, delivering several deep balls in traffic; WR Kito Poblah continues to dazzle with both his speed and his sure hands, while LB Henoc Muamba caught the eye of head coach Paul LaPolice by flying around the field and showing good instincts to break up a few plays. Honourable mention to defensive back Dan West, who had the lone interception of the day after a pass was tipped.
CATCH OF THE DAY
On the first play from scrimmage in first-team offence vs first-team defence, Pierce connected with a perfect pass into the hands of veteran Terrence Edwards that was just beyond the outstretched hands of DB Jonathan Hefney.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“At the bottom of my practice script, I have a quote for the guys and if they don’t know it, I make them run a lap. Dorian (Smith) knew it but he said it wrong. Today’s was ego is good, egotism is bad. And he said, ‘ego is bad, egotism is good.’”
— Blue Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice on what had the players bursting with laughter at the end of the first session on Tuesday.
TWEET OF THE DAY
“If you aint workin. You don’t eat. Period.”
— Blue Bombers RB Chris Garrett, @TheChrisGarrett, sounding like someone who is determined to hold onto his starting job in the backfield.
After two days of two-a-day workouts, the Blue Bombers are back on the field Wednesday morning for only one session, from 11 a.m. to noon at Canad Inns Stadium.