WINNIPEG - The Twitter Twins swaggered into Blue Bombers training camp, Tuesday, and wouldn’t you know it, things picked up immediately.
Defensive backs Jovon Johnson and Jonathan Hefney brought their in-your-face, trash-tweeting style to the field, and it didn’t take long for someone to utter the “S” word.
“We came out ready to go,” Hefney said after an energetic workout that included some spirited one-on-ones with receivers. “A lot of the guys weren’t expecting us. I don’t think they knew what we can do, a lot of the young guys. So we came here, talked it up a little bit, trying to get it goin’, man.
“We gotta get the Swaggerville goin’.”
Those of you who hoped Swaggerville was a thing of the past can insert a heavy sigh, here.
The self-proclaimed Mayor, Odell Willis, may be off to Greener pastures, but his deputies are alive and talking.
If not tweeting quite so much.
The team’s new social media policy, instituted after some less-than-scintillating off-season work by the Twins and fellow DB Deon Beasley, should see to that.
But if Johnson and Hefney think twice before criticizing management or posting lewd photos on their Twitter accounts again, they don’t intend to back off where it matters most.
While Johnson won the trophy, they may as well have been co-winners of the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award, so close was the voting.
So when, in the wake of Twittergate, GM Joe Mack coyly suggested he’d bring in plenty of competition to challenge the incumbents in the defensive secondary, you had to think the Twins were looking at each other with knowing smiles.
Fast forward to their first day of camp — Johnson was late after the death of his aunt, Hefney after his father had heart surgery — and they both say bring it on.
Even if Johnson does find it a little puzzling.
“Maybe they feel like I’m getting old or something, I don’t know,” the 28-year-old said. “But I’m probably the most competitive player on the team. So I love it when they bring guys in to compete for my job.
“That’s what they’re supposed to do. Otherwise their job is in jeopardy if they don’t do that.”
Hefney, for his part, feels his job is always in jeopardy.
As his football-playing brother-in-law told him when Hefney was just six years old, there’s always somebody younger and faster looking to take it.
The 27-year-old is looking to take something else in 2012, something held by his friend and teammate.
“My goal is already set to go after it,” Hefney said of the defensive MVP award. “I’m not going to just try to talk about it all year, because I’m a team player. I just always go out and try to make every play possible, and if they land me defensive player of the year I’ll be happy with it.”
It’s hard to imagine Hefney doing more than he did in 2011, when he led the team with 76 tackles, intercepted six passes, recorded a team-high 11 knockdowns, recovered two fumbles and recorded a sack.
“I can do a whole lot more — I always feel I can,” Hefney said. “Go back to my junior (year) in college. I had like 97 tackles, and come back the next year and didn’t nobody think I could do it, and I ended up gettin’ the same amount.”
Johnson’s line included a league-leading eight interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.
Both were CFL all-stars a year ago.
Which, if we are to believe Coach LaPo, means squat.
It’s a refresh, Paul LaPolice keeps saying.
So, how does the competition look in the D-backfield?
“They did a tremendous job of finding guys that can come in and compete,” a tactful Johnson said. “Every year you gotta regain your stripes again.”
If not your tweets.