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Bomber Report

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New Bomber uniforms unveiled

Shiny headgear, camo uniform draws praise, skepticism

Posted: 08/19/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

Last Modified: 08/19/2014 3:35 PM | Updates

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The Blue and Gold will be exclusively blue this week.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Tuesday afternoon unveiled the new Reebok Signature Look uniforms they will wear Friday night at Investors Group Field against the Montreal Alouettes -- and the new look is all blue and no gold.

The lack of one of the team’s signature colours in their new uniforms has raised some eyebrows and more than a few critics on social media have pointed out the combination of light and dark blues on the new Bombers jerseys makes the new uniforms look more like the infamous Double Blue of the Toronto Argonauts.

"Uniforms look like Toronto. Give your head a shake Bomber Brass," was the verdict of one Tweeter within moments of the Bombers unveiling the new look.

"I guess the Blue and Gold doesn’t mean the Blue and Gold to Reebok," was the reaction of another Twitter user.

Bombers QB Drew Willy -- who, along with defensive end Jason Vega, modelled the new uniforms at a news conference at IGF this afternoon -- defended the new look.

"They look pretty cool. With the helmet together, it definitely brings a different look to us. It will be good for one game to get the fans excited," said Willy. "We’re looking forward to wearing them and hopefully getting a win with them as well."

And the lack of any gold?

"It’s just one game," said Willy. "Obviously we’ll always be Blue and Gold."

The new uniforms -- which are part of a special mid-season promotion all nine CFL teams are taking part in -- are trimmed with a blue camouflage look that the team says pays homage to Winnipeg’s deep military roots.

'It's different, I'll give you that. I like blue though. That's about it'

-- RB Paris Cotton on the new helmet

The Bombers (5-3) take on the Alouettes (1-6) Friday evening.

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Are new helmets hot, or a Blue-per?

The teaser was on the field Monday at Investors Group Field.

But only the helmet colours of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' new CFL Signature Uniform was on display. The entire ensemble will be revealed this afternoon in a special event at 3 p.m., when quarterback Drew Willy and defensive lineman Jason Vega will appear in the Reebok-designed style.

Team officials weren't saying much about what will be seen today, other than the new uniform style will be one of four the Bombers have in their closet and the newest addition is innovative as well as military-inspired.

One could have guessed as much by looking Monday at the helmet design -- a sort of urban camouflage with pixels of different blues and black.

The new uniforms will be worn in battle once this season, for Friday's home game against Montreal.

"Neat, yeah, they're good," head coach Mike O'Shea said Monday, asked what he thought of the helmets. "I don't pay a lot of attention to that stuff. But as I've said, we'll wear whatever it takes to win."

The very different helmet design left at least one Bomber player scratching his head a little.

"It's different, I'll give you that," running back Paris Cotton said. "I like blue though. That's about it.

"The pattern's kind of off, for me at least. They're all right. I'd like to see them on game day."

After today's unveiling, fans will be able to get an up-close look at the new jersey at the Bomber Store between 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., where running back Nic Grigsby and defensive back Chris Randle will be signing autographs.

Fans can get a $30 coupon towards the purchase of the new jersey if they bring a donation of a non-perishable food item for the Purolator Tackle Hunger program in support of Winnipeg Harvest.

Each CFL team is getting an extra look this season courtesy of Reebok. Saskatchewan, B.C., Toronto and Ottawa have already revealed theirs.

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The Bombers were back to work on the field on Monday, fitting in some down time after they played Saskatchewan and Toronto in a five-day span up to last Tuesday.

"It's like any other job," O'Shea said. "It really is. We've been pushing these players extremely hard since training camp with very little down time.

"Lots of people get weekends off. In football, once training camp starts, you're not getting weekends or holiday Mondays. You go right through."

"Refreshed" was also a word O'Shea used.

"To get a three-day stretch in the middle of the season where it's not your bye week is rare and it's very much needed in our case," he said. "The mental rest, to be able to think about something different and breathe a little bit (is important)."

 

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The Bombers added two players to their practice roster on Monday.

One is defensive lineman Zach Anderson's brother, Chad, an offensive lineman, and the other is receiver Kemonte Bateman. Both are imports.

Bateman, at 6-1 and 185 pounds, is from New Mexico State. The 24-year-old Los Angeles native finished last season with the Edmonton Eskimos and was released in the off-season.

He recorded 78 catches for 1,121 yards in his final two seasons at New Mexico State. The chart included nine touchdowns.

Anderson, 22, is fresh out of Northern Michigan. The Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., native became a starter in 2011 and finished with 32 straight starts to close out his college career.

"He's thick," O'Shea said, noting the Bombers scouted him at the Indianapolis Colts' camp. "He's been here a day. He's practised once. What our scouts liked about him is that he, as they put it, is a 'three-hour mauler.' He would give a maximum effort hours on end and physically beat people up.

"That's a good thing, a good start. We'll see how he adjusts to a yard off the ball, which I don't think will be a problem. We'll see how he picks up our systems, blocking schemes."

Zach Anderson was just a little thrilled with the move.

"Once I got the word... that's probably one of my happiest moments," he said. "We played together all through high school, O-line, D-line, and college in Northern Michigan. To have him up here, it's kind of a dream come true. To have your little brother playing with you? Heck, yeah.

"He's kind of like a gentle giant off the field but on the field, he can get nasty. He's a big guy. I call him my little big brother. He's pushing 330 and 6-5. He's a big guy and I think he'll be good for us."

Do you like the Bombers' new uniform? Join the conversation in the comments below.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 19, 2014 C3

History

Updated on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 9:02 AM CDT: Replaces photo

3:35 PM: Updates picture, modifies conversation question.

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