Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Hefney gets his wish to start at halfback

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And so much for that idea.

A day after two-time CFL all-star defensive back Jonathan Hefney complained loudly about a potential plan to move him to linebacker this coming season, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers coaching staff declared the idea dead and buried and announced fellow DB Brandon Stewart will take over the strong-side linebacker position this year instead.

"Coach (Tim) Burke and I discussed what we wanted to do," head coach Paul LaPolice told the media Monday afternoon, "and we think it’s probably our best matchup to have two big guys to the (wide side of the) field with Johnny Sears (at defensive back) and Brandon (at SAM).

"Brandon’s pretty physical inside so we think that’s going to be a really good set up for us."

LaPolice was asked whether Hefney’s loud reluctance on Sunday to take over the SAM position this year played into the decision to give the job of replacing the recently released Clint Kent to Stewart instead.

LaPolice laughed. "No," he said. "I certainly had a conversation with Hef, but if we felt our best lineup would have been with Hef at SAM, we would have put Hef at SAM. And he would have handled it like a pro."

LaPolice certainly quelled any dissent within his defence with the move because Stewart, unlike Hefney, says he’s happy to take over Kent’s old job.

Hefney told the media Sunday that he preferred to remain at half-back this season and said he felt he would be "100 percent" more helpful to his club playing his old position than moving to linebacker.

Stewart, on the other hand, seems to think he’d be great at just about every position in the sport.

"I’m an athlete. If they wanted me to play receiver, I’d go play receiver and I’d feel like I could start at receiver in this league," said Stewart. "I’ll play wherever they want me to. And I guess it’s nice to have a plug-in guy that’s willing to go play anywhere.

"It’s going to be fun."

Meanwhile, LaPolice revealed that back-up defensive back Deon Beasley — who along with defensive end Jason Vega and running back Chad Simpson sat out Monday’s two-hour practice — might not be available to the team when they open the regular season this Friday in Vancouver against the B.C. Lions.

LaPolice said Beasley hurt his hip. "We might hold him out this game," said LaPolice.

LaPolice said Vega had a pulled muscle and is expected back at practice on Tuesday, while Simpson is day-to-day with a lower leg injury suffered in practice on Sunday.

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