If it seemed like Rory Kohlert came out of nowhere to catch a late touchdown pass in Monday's win over the Aloutettes in Montreal, he did.
Kohlert, a non-import receiver from Regina who signed as a free agent last spring, hadn't been mentioned much since being added to the roster for the first time on June 29 as an injury replacement for Cory Watson.
Kohlert, who has served in mostly a backup and special teams role this season, was pressed into duty on Thanksgiving Day as an injury replacement for Kito Poblah and caught his first CFL touchdown pass. The 15-yard catch from quarterback Joey Elliott stood as the game-winning points in the 27-22 victory over Montreal.
"It means a lot to me to get that first touchdown," said the 6-foot-2, 196-pound Kohlert. "For your first catch or your first touchdown, you always think about it. Now it's out of the way."
Kohlert's story could be a textbook on how a Canadian Interuniversity Sport football player from the Prairies beat the odds to become a professional player.
He fractured a bone in his right leg at the 2010 Canadian Football Scouting's National Invitational Combine and, as a result of the injury, was not selected in the 2010 CFL draft, which also featured Watson.
"That slowed me down for a bit. I didn't get drafted but it was in the off-season so I could still play the next season," said Kohlert. "I was really disappointed when it happened. You don't get a lot of opportunities. To be where I'm at now, I'm just thankful for everything that's happened so far.
Kohlert signed as a free agent with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in March 2011 but was released in July and returned to the Saskatchewan Huskies for the 2011 CIS season.
"Rory did a great job for us in the game and we hope this week he'll do some more good things," said Bombers head coach Tim Burke.
"He's very smart, he can play all different (receiver) positions. Just going against our defence all the time has helped him because I think we have pretty good defensive backs. I think he finally got a chance to show what he could do. Sometimes you just have to wait until it's your turn."
With injuries to non-import receivers Watson and Kito Poblah threatening to keep them out of the lineup, Kohlert could conceivably find himself bumped up to a starting role against the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday at Canad Inns Stadium.
"If you can have a very good Canadian player that plays as good as anybody else on the field, that's great," Burke said.
Kohlert also flew under the radar of the Montreal defensive backs when he scored his touchdown as he was wide open on the play.
"I was just running a corner route and Terrence (Edwards) was running a shorter route underneath and both the defensive backs bit down on Terrence and left me wide open over the top," Kohlert said.
He joked that he was just thinking about not missing the catch.
"Just catch the ball and keep my feet in!" Kohlert said, laughing. He said he has the ball in his locker. "I'll be taking that home, that's for sure."
Kohlert said his parents and other family, who live in Regina, come to Winnipeg for each home game and have also been to games on the road.
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