Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–10–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Foster wants to hit turf running

Big receiver another target for Blue QBs

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Akeem Foster is excited for the chance to play despite leaving the Grey Cup contender Lions for the struggling Bombers.

JEFF MCINTOSH / THE CANADIAN PRESS Enlarge Image

Akeem Foster is excited for the chance to play despite leaving the Grey Cup contender Lions for the struggling Bombers.

AT 6-4, 212 pounds and with a size-large wingspan, Akeem Foster makes for a big and inviting target for quarterbacks.

But the 26-year-old Ajax, Ont. product -- acquired Sunday by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from the B.C. Lions in exchange for Buck Pierce -- also knows this: it's hard to be that big and inviting target while watching in civvies from the sidelines.

And so Foster may be leaving a Grey-Cup contender in the Lions for a 2-8 team in the Bombers, but the deal for him right now is more about opportunity than possible playoff glory.

"The fact of the matter is that a non-import getting traded for a import quarterback means that someone is looking out for me," Foster told Lowell Ullrich of The Vancouver Province on Monday. "It was a football move but I'm excited for the opportunity (the Lions) have given me. These guys helped me grow and helped me become the person I am."

Drafted by the Lions in the fourth round, 24th overall, of the 2010 Canadian Draft, Foster is a wideout who lost his starting gig this season to Marco Iannuzzi. He pulled in 61 passes for 949 yards and nine TDs in 2011 and 2012, but had dressed for just the first three games of this season before being placed on the reserve list.

Interestingly, Foster -- who could be in the Bomber lineup as early as this Saturday in Edmonton -- will face is former team later this month when the Lions pay a visit to Investors Group Field on Sept. 27th.

"It's already circled on the calendar," said Foster, who played college ball with both Henoc and Cauchy Muamba at St. Francis-Xavier.

The trade is important for the Bombers not just because he upgrades their Canadian talent, but because the collection of homegrown receivers have been both under-achieving and injured this season.

Rory Kohlert leads the Bomber Canadian receivers with 20 catches for 226 yards and one TD, followed by Cory Watson -- who has battled injuries -- at 18-289-0, Jade Etienne at 18-261-2 and Kito Poblah at 2-18-0.

"It's sound philosophy in the CFL when you get a chance to add to your Canadian talent base, particularly at your starting positions you do it to promote depth and competition," said acting Bombers GM Kyle Walters. "We had four Canadian receivers penciled in on the dress roster breaking training camp and we've just really struggled keeping all of them healthy at the same time. That's the reason and the logic behind the trade.

"We expect that Akeem is now going to get a chance to start. He's only 26 years old and he's going to get a chance now to get back to where he was a year ago in productivity, is what we hope."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 10, 2013 C6

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