Bombers veterans ready to make noise

Veterans like Blue Bombers tailback Chris Garrett, working out at Canad Inns Stadium in Winnipeg,...

Veterans like Blue Bombers tailback Chris Garrett, working out at Canad Inns Stadium in Winnipeg, Man., June 18, 2012, can't wait for the team's final pre-season game against the Tiger-Cats Wednesday to show the rookies how it's done. (CHRIS PROCAYLO/QMI Agency)

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:32 PM ET

WINNIPEG - You’ve got one hand on a starting job in the CFL, on the verge of establishing yourself as a go-to veteran.

Maybe you’re even ready to put up the kind of numbers that result in a big contract, by CFL standards, anyway.

So what happens? Your team brings in a boatload of younger, cheaper talent who look pretty darn good in the early stages of training camp.

Then the first pre-season game comes along and you’re left at home, while the young guys make the trip, getting an entire game in which to audition for your job.

You can bet running back Chris Garrett was all ears for the names Chad Simpson and Bloi-Dei Dorzon on the radio broadcast from Montreal, last Thursday.

And Brandon Stewart would have heard plenty of Demond Washington, who, roaming through Stewart’s stomping grounds in the secondary, just may have been Winnipeg’s player of the game.

Getting antsy about playing, yet, fellas?

“I want to play,” a chuckling Garrett said after yet another in a seemingly endless string of practices, Monday. “I’m looking forward to Wednesday. “It’s been a while since we actually played in a game.”

Garrett, of course, knows all too well how fleeting, and fickle, a secure place in this game can be.

He was cut after training camp a year ago, only to get a second chance and run roughshod over it, when Fred Reid blew out his knee.

With all the press Simpson, the former NFLer, has received, and after Dorzon’s impressive touchdown scamper against the Als, you wonder if Garrett feels the need to remind us all he’s the starting tailback around here.

“I don’t have to make any statement,” he said. “As long we’re moving the ball and we’re scoring, I’m fine with that.”

I don’t know if Garrett is feeling insecure or not, but head coach Paul LaPolice says his tailback came to see him on Sunday to ask how he’s doing.

“Certainly he’s got some competition in camp, which is always a good thing,” LaPolice said. “All those running backs get along very well. He’s taken a better professional role out of it. He says he’s excited. So we’re looking for big things from him.”

They already got big things from Washington, but Stewart doesn’t sound like someone who’s any more worried about his cornerback job than he normally is.

“I never like to get complacent,” Stewart said. “When you get complacent, that’s when you fall off your game a little bit. I come in every training camp thinking someone’s here to take my job. Competition makes your team better at the end of the day.”

The fact many of the vets were left at home might suggest they don’t need to prove anything, their jobs are safe.

But even the older vets aren’t buying that.

Terrence Edwards had to sit by while a fleet of young, talented receivers got to show their stuff in Montreal.

“Nobody’s entitled to anything,” the eighth-year CFLer said. “They could make a decision next week and say they want to go in a different direction.

“I don’t fear that. Because I’m going to go out there and do what I’m asked to do. Do my job best I can do it, and hopefully that’s enough to still be here. It might happen, but I just don’t feel that way.”

There’s one surefire way for a veteran to remind the coaches why he’s been around for a while.

It comes Wednesday.

For the record, the coach says No. 19 is his starting tailback, Week 1.

Never mind June 29, Garrett said.

“I’m looking at this just like it’s Game 1 vs B.C. — just like it’s a regular season game,” he said. “Every game you gotta go all out. ’Cause that’s how injuries happen, if you don’t.”

That’s how other things happen, too.


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