WINNIPEG Blue Bombers offensive tackle Shannon Boatman "has excellent feet, really good balance and he plays with a low centre of gravity," says Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke.
And Boatman has also got a little extra motivation going for him this week.
Boatman -- 6-6, 342, Florida State -- is expected to start his third consecutive game for the Bombers this Saturday evening against the Toronto Argonauts, Boatman's former club and the same team that put him out of football for over a year when they cut him in training camp in 2011.
With no other interested takers in his services after Toronto cut him, Boatman moved back home to Beaumont, Texas and found work outside of football as a substitute physical education teacher at an elementary school in his hometown.
And that's exactly what Boatman, 28, was doing when the Bombers finally came calling early this season with a chance to get back into football. While he'd been out of the game for over a year, Boatman said the flame still burned bright and he leapt at the chance to prove he could still play.
"It was really tough. I was really missing it. I was back home teaching those kids and I just wanted to get back on the field and hit somebody so bad at times," Boatman said Thursday afternoon at Canad Inns Stadium following his club's final full practice in advance of Saturday's game.
"I'm so glad to be back."
He's not only back, he's starting. For the last couple weeks, that start has come as a result of an injury to regular starting right tackle Jordan Taormina. But even with Taormina once again healthy and practising this week, Boatman still got the starting nod against the Argos this week, testimony to just how much he has impressed the Bombers coaching staff with his play.
"He does a great job in staying in front of the defensive ends and he doesn't give up the edge," Burke said Thursday.
"And mentally, he's pretty sharp too."
Durie back -- unfortunately
"Yeah, I was hoping he wouldn't return this week." -- Bombers head coach Tim Burke on the news out of Toronto this week that injured Argos receiver/tailback Andre Durie will be in the lineup when Toronto faces the Bombers Saturday
DB Johnny Sears returned to practice on Thursday after missing sessions on Wednesday and Tuesday...Defensive back/kick returner Demond Washingston took the day off because of a sore toe, but Burke said he will play Saturday.