Blue Bomber Report Record: 3–15–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Mack: 'We're taking him at his word'

Hefney tells Blue he's innocent; will dress today

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JONATHAN HEFNEY'S future with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will be determined by what he does on the football field.

That said, what he did off the field on May 31 won't exactly endear himself to Bomber management.

The Bombers were in full damage control Tuesday, not long after reports of Hefney being charged for marijuana possession in South Carolina just days before he came north to training camp earlier this month became public through a report in The Rock Hill Herald.

GM Joe Mack addressed the media in a press conference Tuesday morning after speaking to both Hefney and authorities in South Carolina and said the player plans to plead not guilty to the charge.

"We're going to let due process take its course and wait and see what happens," said Mack. "According to Jonathan it is a misunderstanding that will be resolved. It's my understanding (the charge) could just go away.

"Jonathan says that he is completely innocent of this and we're going to take him at his word because he is one of our teammates. That in itself, this particular incident, won't affect his status at all. It's going to be how he plays."

The marijuana possession charge came after he and a friend were pulled over in Rock Hill at 1:20 a.m. after speeding. The officer smelled marijuana when Hefney rolled down his window and a search of his truck discovered 6.2 grams of marijuana. Hefney was issued a ticket for a first- offence possession and has a court date in Rock Hill scheduled for June 19 -- the day before the Bombers are to complete their 2013 pre-season with a game in Guelph, Ont., against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Hefney would not have to be present if he's represented by an attorney or has paid a fine. A first-offence marijuana possession carries a $570 fine or 30 days in jail in South Carolina.

Hefney has had some issues with the Bombers and been fined by the club in the past, including reporting late after a bye week last season and for some racy posts on his Twitter account.

"Each individual player, there's a picture that is painted by him and that's taken into account by the head coach, the coaching staff and myself," said Mack. "Jonathan, obviously sometimes has to be more cognizant of his actions off the field and how that can impact what he does for the team. That's an ongoing process and I know it's something Tim addresses with Jonathan. He acknowledged to me that he probably made a mistake not notifying me and the team beforehand. He acknowledges that and apologized for that."

Hefney, who did not speak to the media on Tuesday, will dress for tonight's pre-season game against the Toronto Argonauts. Bomber head coach Tim Burke, who has been critical of the effort of some of his veteran defensive backs since training camp, said Tuesday that Hefney has had a "pretty decent" camp but wouldn't comment further because the case is now headed to court.

Hefney's teammates were also mum on the subject.

"I don't have anything to say about it and it's not my place to say anything," said Jovon Johnson. "The only thing I'm focused on is Toronto."

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

-- with files from Paul Wiecek

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 12, 2013 D2

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Updated on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 8:46 AM CDT: adds videos

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