Although brand-new Bomber Greg Peach only spent a couple of days as a CFL free agent, he would rather not repeat that experience.
Earlier this week, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats released the veteran defensive end, as the CFL nears the deadline by which veteran players must be cut, or paid out for the year. "I just want to play," Peach said after practice today. "I don’t ever want to be a free agent again. It’s not very fun."
The good news is that the 6-foot-3, 255-pound Peach’s foray into free agency was brief: the Bombers were among several CFL teams who rang him up immediately, and it was the Bombers, Peach said, who wanted him the most. They were also the team where he can slip in the easiest: Peach played under defensive coordinator Casey Creehan’s system before, and he knows it by heart.
That’s why he’s already set to figure in to the Bombers pass rush on Sunday in Regina. "He’s been in our system, so he knows already knows what the defence are called, he knows techniques we’re using," head coach Tim Burke said on Thursday. "And he’s a good enough player to get in there right away."
Peach, 26, has already shown that talent in the league, though injuries have often hampered his potential. Last season, his first in Hamilton, he notched 36 defensive tackles and tied for the team lead with six sacks in 15 games.
Since coming into the CFL in 2009 when he signed with Edmonton, he has registered 130 defensive tackles, five special teams tackles, forced three fumbles and hammered out 19 sacks.
While playing college football at Eastern Washington, Peach set school records for sacks in a season and in a career, as well as tackles for a loss in a season and career.
He’s not the only new player who may land on the roster right away. While former NFLer Mike Sims-Walker will take another week to adjust to the CFL game, former Ticats slotback Aaron Kelly looks ready to get in on the play. "He picked up the offence really well yesterday, as if he’d been in it all along," Burke said of Kelly, who did play under Bombers offensive coordinator Marcel Bellefeuille in Hamilton. "Today, we wanted to give him more."
Another player who needs more reps is quarterback Max Hall. He wounded his hand last Saturday but was throwing reps in practice on Thursday, and could be ready to go. Burke said coaches plan to review video of Thursday’s practice, and check on how Hall’s hand is healing on Friday morning before making a final decision on whether Hall or Justin Goltz will start the Labour Day tilt.
With the addition of Peach, the Bombers cut defensive end Freddie Harris loose.