Blue Bomber Report Record: 4–1–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bombers ready to give Lumsden a test drive

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The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are past kicking the tires regarding their interest in Canadian running back Jesse Lumsden.

They are ready, in fact, to not only take him for a test drive but perhaps get down to haggling on a contract for the gifted-but-oft-injured ball carrier.

"This isn't just a whim," said Bombers assistant GM/director of football operations Ross Hodgkinson. "I'm playing phone tag with him and haven't actually spoken with him. There's interest on our side and I've been told there's interest on his side. I haven't confirmed the level of interest or whether we would come to an agreement... those are things that all remain up in the air.

"But it's a potential win-win for both of us."

The holdup as of Tuesday night was the club's inability to track Lumsden down as he is said to be currently in Vancouver. Hodgkinson has spoken to Lumsden's father Neil to gauge interest.

It's also possible the Edmonton Eskimos may wish to revisit their association with Lumsden given an injury to Arkee Whitlock on Monday.

The top player in Canadian college football in 2004 and a former first-round draft pick of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Lumsden hasn't played a down of football since injuring his shoulder as a member of the Eskimos in a Week 1 win over the Bombers in 2009.

A marquee free-agent signing by the Esks that winter, Lumsden played just one quarter for Edmonton -- carrying the ball twice for five yards. But, in parts of four seasons as a member of the Ticats Lumsden averaged 6.3 yards per carry and last winter was a member of Pierre Lueders' bobsleigh team that finished fifth at the Olympics.

The Bombers feel that because Lumsden now comes with a lower financial risk he is worth a look. But Lumsden would also have to agree to a physical examination and conditioning tests.

"First we have to evaluate his health and then his conditioning level and his football-conditioning level," Hodgkinson said. "We've done some investigation on our own and we're quite confident. We'd bring him in here and he'd see Dr. Peter MacDonald, who is probably one of the best shoulder surgeons in North America, and have him give an opinion. If his shoulder looks strong, looks stable and the movement's good... we could x-ray him, get him to do some bench presses and other related activities.

"When he's played he's demonstrated he's got a high degree of skill and he's Canadian. You factor those things together and it certainly warrants consideration."

HUGE LDC NUMBERS: TSN revealed Tuesday the Bomber-Roughrider Labour Day Classic contest attracted 1.34 million viewers, making it the most-watched regular-season game in the network's history. The matchup also delivered the highest regular-season average audience on record for a CFL game (since 1994).

TSN indicated audience levels peaked at 2.1 million viewers at 5:59 p.m. CT, as the Bombers drove towards the end zone with 21 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the Roughriders up by 10 points.

Friday's matchup featuring B.C. and Montreal was watched by an average audience of 914,000.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 8, 2010 C3

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