The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have recruited veteran Canadian Football League quarterback Michael Bishop to help breathe life into their comatose offence.
Bishop, the seven-year vet with both the Toronto and Saskatchewan, was to arrive Sunday and will be on the practice field Monday when the team returns to work following last Friday’s 19-5 loss to the Argos.
The club won’t officially announce his addition until the contract is formally registered with the league, likely by Monday, and won’t confirm whether he will start next Saturday in Toronto until they determine how quickly he picks up their offensive gameplan.
A source told The Free Press the Bombers also considered former CFL Most Outstanding Player Casey Printers, currently unemployed, while the names Quinn Gray, Brian Johnson and Marcus Crandell also came up.
The Bombers opted to go with Bishop, 33, because of his 11-1 run as a starter for the Argos in 2007 and his ability to fit in well with teammates.
Printers has a notorious rep, rightly or not, of rubbing people the wrong way; Gray has a family and is considering playing in the new United Football League, as is Johnson. Crandell is now on the coaching staff of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Bishop has one of the strongest arms in pro football, but has bounced around from the Argos to Saskatchewan - he was traded their last year for a draft pick – because critics say he often forces passes. The former Kansas State star - who finished second in 1998 Heisman Trophy voting to Ricky Williams - spent time in the NFL and the Arena League and has a career touchdown-to-interception ratio in the CFL of 51-56.
He started eight games for Saskatchewan last year, going 4-4 and including back-to-back wins over the Bombers in September, but was released after throwing three interceptions in a playoff loss to the B.C. Lions and as the Rider made the commitment to go with Darian Durant.
The Bombers offensive performance in Friday’s loss was one of the worst in eons as the team managed just three points offensively, the other two came when the Argos conceded a safety, and included starting QB Stefan LeFors as well as back-ups Bryan Randall and Richie Williams combining to throw for just 66 yards.