The Winnipeg Blue Bombers took a first step on Wednesday towards filling the gaping holes on their defensive line created by the off-season departures of defensive end Odell Willis and defensive tackle Doug Brown.
The Bombers announced a pair of defensive linemen signings Wednesday morning in non-import Ryan Lucas and import Brandon Collier.
Lucas (6-5, 280) is a 27-year-old Vancouver native who has played in just eight games since breaking into the CFL with Montreal in 2007. He played in three games with the Alouettes last season and also played in three playoff games, including the Grey Cup, with Saskatchewan in 2010.
Collier (6-1, 285) is a 26-year-old Cleveland native who was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles last summer as an undrafted free agent but was released during training camp after suffering an injury. Prior to that, Collier was a four-year starter at the University of Massachusetts, where he played in 49 career games, including 43 starts as a defensive tackle.
The Bombers are looking for both a starting defensive tackle and a starting defensive end following the retirement of Brown following the 2011 season and the trade of Willis -- who was a CFL all-star last season -- to the Riders last month.
Also on Wednesday, the Bombers announced that Brown -- along with several other Bombers players -- are hosting a football camp this Saturday for about 80 young players selected by KidSport.
Brown -- along with Obby Khan, Steve Morley, Kelly Butler, Chris Greaves, Glenn January, Marcellus Bowman and Mike Renaud -- will act as instructors and hold a mini-football combine Saturday afternoon from 1-3:45 p.m. at the Winnipeg Soccer Complex.
KidSport is a national charity administered locally by Sport Manitoba that strives to remove money as an obstacle to kids playing sports.