WINNIPEG - You could write War and Peace on his palms, his feet are size 16, and his bald dome tops out at six feet, eight inches above the ground.
Justin Sorensen isn’t all brawn, however. Plenty of brains come with the package as well.
“He’s smart as hell, and that’s why I knew he could play centre,” Bombers offensive line coach Pat DelMonaco said Wednesday.
Sorensen is a little more excited than usual this week, as he gets to face his former team for the first time. The B.C. Lions made Sorensen the fifth overall pick in 2008, but the big beast from Parksville, B.C., couldn’t impress the coaches enough. The Leos cut him after just four starts and two uneventful seasons because his feet just weren’t quick enough.
Being the Canadian that he is, however, Sorensen is taking the polite route this week when talking about his former club.
“It was a great organization, and I’m not going to talk bad about them, because there’s nothing bad to say,” Sorensen said. “But I’ll be looking forward to playing against them.
“I definitely got a shot. I started four games out there and played in about every single one when I was there.”
The Leos cut Sorensen loose during last year’s training camp, and the Bombers needed another offensive lineman last August when Chris Kowalczuk went down with an ankle injury. Sorensen spent the rest of 2011 on Winnipeg’s practice roster and then, coincidentally enough, lost the starting centre job to Kowalczuk earlier this year.
“Kowalczuk was out-performing him,” DelMonaco said. “Justin wasn’t moving as well. I don’t know if he was taking care of business the way he needed to. I didn’t think he was as focused as he needed to be.”
However, when quarterback Buck Pierce went to the coaching staff after the team’s Week 1 loss to B.C., the switch was made. Kowalczuk’s snaps weren’t quick enough, so Sorensen got the nod in Week 2 and hasn’t let go of the job.
“Now they’re both equal,” DelMonaco said, “but Justin hasn’t done anything to lose his job.”
Sorensen, who has been working on his foot speed this season, plans to go out with his good friends from the Lions’ offensive line, Jon Hameister-Ries and Angus Reid, when they get to town on Thursday, but most of B.C.’s defensive linemen he faced in practice are gone. He views his time with the Lions as ancient history.
“Sometimes you move on to another organization and you get a better chance there,” he said. “I’m blessed to be playing for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. I’m their starting centre, right?”
That he is.