The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are dusting off former NFL wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker for this weekend’s home date against the Toronto Argonauts.
Bomber head coach Tim Burke said Sims-Walker, added to much fanfare at the end of August after a solid career in Jacksonville and St. Louis, will dress for just his second CFL game – and make his first start – in place of the injured Aaron Kelly.
"I feel good," said Sims-Walker after Bomber practice Wednesday. "I’m always mentally prepared and my body feels good. I’m just ready to get that opportunity, man, to get out here and make some plays."
Asked if he was surprised he hadn’t played more, Sims-Walker added:
"A little bit. But I’m a pro. I just keep my mouth shut, go about my business and work, come to work every day and do what I’m told to do."
A former third-round draft pick of the Jaguars in 2007, Sims-Walker led the club in receiving in 2009 before injuries derailed his NFL career. He came to the Bombers expecting to play but, since an appearance in the Banjo Bowl, has not been on the active roster. He admittedly has had trouble adjusting to the CFL game, but the coaches also were hoping he’d pop off the page more at practice.
"It was taking Mike awhile… to re-learn how to run routes," said Burke. "In the U.S. everything is precise and they really chop their feet into cuts whereas in the CFL (the routes) are more rounded off because you have more space to use. It’s taken awhile in that respect. I thought he would pick it up a little bit quicker, but he has now. And then Aaron getting injured has given him a chance to get in there.
"When he first got here I just never noticed him on the field. We said that to him. He’s shown that he can be a pretty good player."
Burke also said that, in addition to Kelly, both defensive back Jovon Johnson and linebacker Desia Dunn are doubtful for Saturday’s home date against the Toronto Argonauts.