HELLO / GOODBYE:
Headline in Friday's Free Press: "Can Rouse help Blue D?"
The short answer: nope.
The 29-year-old linebacker/safety with 41 NFL games under his belt arrived this week and practised with the Bombers on Thursday. And by Friday he was gonzo alonzo, having been lured away for another shot down south.
"He has interest from some NFL teams and that was the agreement we made with him when he came up -- we would allow him to pursue those," said Bomber head coach Tim Burke. "Hopefully we get him back soon. That's the nature of the CFL."
Aaron Rouse, via his Twitter account, said: "I'd like to Thank the WinnipegBlueBombers Organization/Fans/Town for the Great Hospitality. Good Luck on the season!"
Chad Simpson (foot) will be replaced by Will Ford in the backfield as the Bombers attempt to decipher what is bothering their No. 1 tailback.
"We're getting mixed messages from the docs so we're just trying to figure out which is the correct message," said Burke.
"Chad is more of a power-type runner where Will is more finesse, he's got a little more shake and bake. He's a little faster. I think of Will as being a great broken-field runner. He can cut, he can accelerate real fast and if he gets into the open field, he's a danger to go all the way."
Burke said new receiver Mike Sims-Walker will dress as one of the team's three designated imports and will be gradually introduced into the game. Receiver Jade Etienne has been cleared to practise, but not play and will be on the injured list. Rory Kohlert, who missed the Labour Day game, will step back into the starting lineup for Etienne.
STRONG FINISHING KICK
The Riders have been outscored 49-44 in first quarters this season but are dynamite the rest of the way with a plus-31 differential in second quarters, plus-54 in the third and plus-30 in the fourth quarter.
"One of the reasons they may be that way is they tend to feel a team out and play a little bit more conservative at the beginning," said Burke of the Riders. "And then wherever they feel there's a weakness, that's where they go after in the second half. Or it could be that they're just a mature football team with a lot of vets and a lot of confidence and they keep carrying that on through the game."
Former NFLer Mike Sims-Walker will see his first CFL action in Sunday's Banjo Bowl.
Signed by the Bombers as a free agent in late August, Sims-Walker has looked good in practice and the Bombers coaching staff is hoping the big receiver can provide a spark off the bench this weekend.
"I finally made the roster. I'm excited and ready to get out here," said Sims-Walker, who led the Jacksonville Jaguars in receiving in 2009.
Sims-Walker said it has been the minutiae of the CFL game that's been the biggest adjustment so far. "It's a lot of little things, not so much the big part of running routes and catching the ball and learning the schemes."
LEWIS TO BE HONOURED
The Bombers will take time out on Sunday to honour former playing great Leo Lewis.
The club announced Friday they will hold a moment of silence in honour of Lewis prior to kickoff of the Banjo Bowl and players will also wear Lewis's old number, 29, on their jerseys.
He died at the age of 80 on Aug. 30 at his home in Missouri. Lewis rushed for 8,861 yards over 11 seasons with the Bombers from 1955-66, helping the team win four Grey Cups along the way.
-- Tait, Paul Wiecek