Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Freight train at fullback

Sizable rookie Fitzgerald could be a huge addition to the Bombers' attack

  • Print

The first thing you notice about Carl Fitzgerald is his colossal size. Huge hands, huge legs, huge chest. He's, well, huge.

At 6-5, 240 pounds, Fitzgerald is nowhere near the biggest of the Blue Bombers but he's the largest man to play his position in these parts since Mike Sellers lined up in the backfield.

Fitzgerald is a project, moving from receiver to H-back (fullback/tight end) but if he can develop he can change the ratio, adding some Canadian-bred smash and skill to the Blue backfield.

The rookie out of Peterborough, Ont., was on the field Thursday with the rest of the incoming class of Blue Bombers as they prepare for the opening of main training camp on Sunday.

A receiver at St. Mary's University, the Bombers selected Fitzgerald in the third round of the CFL draft with an eye to moving him inside.

"He can catch, we saw that on the film, but what we really liked about him was his willingness to be physical," said Bombers offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton. "We don't really have a player like him that can be a fullback/tight-end. He's learning a new position and it's early, but so far it's been good."

Fitzgerald says learning the blocking required to be a successful H-back is both the hardest and most desirable part of the process he's going through.

"Learning the pass protection, that's new for me because I've always been on the outside as a receiver. Now, they have me in the pocket," said Fitzgerald, 23. "Football is the most physical of games and the physical aspect is my favourite part. So I like the blocking part. I like the change to be hitting all the time and to take part in the offence when they call for me to run a route."

Bombers coach Tim Burke says the team would like Fitzgerald to develop into a player similar to Montreal Alouettes fullback Patrick Lavoie.

"Lavoie started out slow, but by the end of the year was in on close to 60 per cent of their offensive plays," said Burke. "We like what Carl brings. He's got good hands and he's tough. That's why he's here."

Lavoie finished last season with 33 catches for 307 yards and four TDs. If Fitzgerald can mirror that sort of production, GM Joe Mack will have hit a home run with this pick.

"I can't wait to put on the Blue and Gold and play a game on this field in front of the best fans in the CFL," said Fitzgerald, who played AAA hockey before turning his focus to football in high school. "I still can't believe I'm here and trying out for a pro football team. It's such a great experience. I want to take advantage of it and make sure it doesn't end."

Crowton's made some major changes to the playbook to try and protect QB Buck Pierce and having a fullback that can handle defensive linemen in pass protection is key.

"We need a guy that can be physical and stand up to D-linemen coming his way," said Crowton. "We're trying to develop him. He's got a big 'ol body and he's physical. We want competition at the position. If he can get there, great. If not, he's going to push the others.

"He reminds me of Dennis Pitta from the Baltimore Ravens, who I had at BYU. He was a receiver and then I fattened him up and moved him inside and now he's doing great in the NFL. Daniel Coats (Denver Broncos) and Ed Dickson did the same thing in Baltimore. He's not going to be a running fullback but a guy that can block the perimeter and still take part in the passing game. Carl should give us some options with his size, his ability to run routes and his hands. He's going to hit people and that's what got him here more than anything else."

Fitzgerald won't be a classic pass-catching tight end but if he can haul down a few tosses and keep Pierce off his back he'll be a very welcome addition to the Blue Bombers. Twitter: @garylawless

training camp report C6

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 31, 2013 C1


Updated on Friday, May 31, 2013 at 7:53 AM CDT: Gary Lawless is the columnist.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Total Body Tune-Up: Farmer's Carry

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Geese take cover in long grass in the Tuxedo Business Park near Route 90 Wednesday- Day 28– June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A gosling stares near water at Omands Creek Park-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 25– June 21, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.

Soccer: A Love Story Series

2013 Mazda 5 GX AWD at

NHL's P.K. Subban grew up with the Beautiful Game

He grew up playing soccer with his brothers, and says skills learned in soccer are transferable to hockey



Will Connor McDavid make the Edmonton Oilers a playoff team?

View Results

Ads by Google