If putting together a winning team is about stockpiling as many weapons as possible, then the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have a jump on the CFL arms race.
The club announced Tuesday it has acquired quarterback Josh Portis from the Toronto Argonauts in exchange for a conditional draft choice, giving the club five pivots: Drew Willy, Brian Brohm, Robert Marve and newcomers Mason Mills and Portis, both added within the last week.
"We’re trying to build a deep roster and if something were to happen to one of our quarterbacks we don’t really have the depth with any CFL knowledge," explained head coach Mike O’Shea after practice on Tuesday. "It was a no-brainer to bring him in here. It’s going to take him awhile to learn the system, but at least we have a guy now that has been around the CFL for a year, he’s been behind Ricky Ray for over a year, so that’s important, right?
"He knows the rules of the game. It’s obviously going to take him some time to learn the offence, but we feel we have a little more security now if anything unfortunate were to happen."
Portis (6-4, 210) spent the 2013 season with the Argos, mainly on the injured list, dressing for one game against B.C. Prior to joining Toronto he spent the 2012 season with the Seattle Seahawks as their third-string quarterback and on their practice roster.
He spent two seasons at California University of Pennsylvania (2009-10), three years at Maryland (2006-2008) and one year at Florida (2005). He set a school record at California University of Pennsylvania in 2009, throwing for 3,421 yards and 36 touchdowns. His senior season was completed in 2010 when he threw for 2,651 yards and 33 touchdowns in 12 games.
O’Shea also confirmed that Romby Bryant will start in place of Aaron Kelly (knee) in Thursday’s game against the Edmonton Eskimos. Bryant practised in Kelly’s spot over the last two days.
"It’s important for me to prove to people that didn’t want me that I’ve still got it," said Bryant, who was picked up by the Bombers after being cut by the Argos in training camp.
Asked if he thought his career might be over after the release, Bryant added:
"That thought crossed my mind. I didn’t know if people were really going to take a chance with me with my age or whatever. When Toronto let me go out of the blue I wondered if people thought I couldn’t play any more."