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Seven Bombers named CFL East Division all-stars

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Seven members of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were named CFL East Division all-stars this morning.

On offence, running back Chad Simpson, wide receiver Chris Matthews and tackle Glenn January took down all-star awards.

And on defence, defensive linemen Bryant Turner and Alex Hall were named to the all-star team, as were defensive backs Jovon Johnson and Jonathan Hefney.

The selections of Hefney and Johnson have raised a few eyebrows around the league. Both men struggled at times during the season -- by their own admission -- and even Bombers head coach Tim Burke at season’s end cited the poor play of his secondary in 2012 as a major contributing factor to his club’s 6-12 regular season record.

"It feels pretty good considering the type of year we had and the type of year I felt like I had," Hefney said by phone from South Carolina this morning. "I felt like I could have played a whole lot better.But an award like this is an achievement and I feel pretty good about it."

Meanwhile, sources have confirmed first-year Bombers linebackers coach Chip Garber has been fired by the Bombers.

Garber -- who came to the Bombers after he was fired as defensive coordinator in Toronto after the 2011 season -- was also Winnipeg’s de facto acting defensive coordinator after Paul LaPolice was fired in August and Tim Burke took over as head coach.

The Bombers are refusing to confirm or deny the report of Garber’s ouster, which was initially reported by Sportsnet. "Any coaching staff announcements will be made after Grey Cup. As per league policy," team spokesman Darren Cameron wrote in a text message this morning.

However, sources have confirmed the report to Free Press columnist Gary Lawless.

Garber was considered to be in the running for the vacant Bombers defensive coordinator job, which Burke has said he intends to fill as quickly as possible.

His ouster will renew speculation that Burke intends to fill the position with longtime friend and colleague, Casey Creehan.

Creehan has worked over the years with Burke in Calgary, Montreal and, most recently, in Winnipeg, where Creehan was the linebackers coach until he left at the end of last season to take the Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive coordinator job.

Creehan still has one year left on his contract in Hamilton, but the Ticats defence was an unmitigated disaster in 2012 and there is widespread speculation that he could be fired this month as well.

Ironically, Garber was the man who took over for Creehan when Creehan took the Hamilton job.

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