ANTHONY WOODSON has finally found the football field as a member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, though not in the role he originally signed up for.
At the request of the club, the Calgary-born running back is spending his time in Winnipeg working with the receiving group this week. Originally drafted by the team in the fourth round of the 2010 CFL draft, Woodson missed the last two training camps due to injury and school commitments, but says he's ready to make an impression on an organization that almost gave up on him last summer.
As for the new position assignment, Woodson didn't grumble about it.
"The more things you can do the harder it is for them to get rid of you," he said Thursday.
Woodson said he thought the coaching staff wanted him to spend this week as a receiver to get used to catching the ball out of the backfield, a plan the Bombers confirmed later in the day.
The coaches see him as a utility player at the start, a guy who might be able to dress as a special teams player, a backup tailback and possibly a fourth Canadian pass catcher if they need him.
"We think he's a running back, we just wanted, with three days of camp, (to) get him exposed to receiver and when he comes into regular training camp, he's going to be able to just concentrate on running back," coach Paul LaPolice said.
"He's got some versatility to him."
Woodson's path to the Bombers has been well documented and covered in bandages.
After leading Canada West in rushing as a member of the Calgary Dinos, he broke a rib and punctured a lung late in the 2008 season. He suffered a shoulder injury that winter, and in the summer of 2009, he broke his foot, an injury that kept him out of action that season.
That history of misfortune caused his draft stock to plummet in 2010, but it did give him a chance to refocus on something else.
With football action nullified, the 24-year-old used the time to concentrate on his business degree, an education he chose to stick with even as the Bombers kept calling for his services.
"School was important to me and my family, but it's my dream to play pro football," he said.
"One book is closed; I'm ready to open another."