Hardrick’s return to Bombers never in doubt
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The Winnipeg Blue Bombers value continuity and their offensive line proves it.
The club announced Wednesday the re-signing of veteran right tackle Jermarcus Hardrick to a one-year extension.
The new deal prevents Hardrick, a 32-year-old set to enter his seventh season in blue and gold, from hitting the free agent market next month.
The Bombers now have four of their five starters on the O-line under contract for 2023. The only one left to be signed is Canadian centre Michael Couture.
“It was never in doubt coming back to Winnipeg. I love the guys, I trust the guys, I trust the organization from the top down and I couldn’t be happier,” said Hardrick on a media call Thursday.
The tackle on the other side of the offensive line, Stanley Bryant, is 37 and entering his eighth season in Winnipeg. Hardrick, a CFL all-star in 2021 and a University of Nebraska product, hopes he can play as long as his longtime teammate.
“I wanna play as long as I can. I’ll be 33 in the summer, but when I look at the other side of the line there’s a guy going on 37 so I just gotta add four or five more years on there,” said Hardrick.
“The way he’s going, the way he’s playing, the way he takes care of his body and the way he leads, it’s just an honour. It’s a privilege what we’re witnessing with Stanley right now.”
Hardrick started 17 regular-season games at right tackle for the Blue Bombers last season and was part of an offence that finished second in offensive points (28.2), first in touchdowns (58), second in rushing yards (113.5) while yielding the second-fewest sacks (29). Hardrick would trade those impressive numbers for a different final result as the season ended with a heartbreaking loss to the Toronto Argonauts in the Grey Cup, a game he’s watched several times already this off-season.
“It’s probably something you’ll never forget, but it’s something you have to flush. It’s something you have to move on from,” said Hardrick. “I’ve lost championships before. I know how it feels to lose a championship. I’ve lost championships at every level and I’ve won championships at every level also. The losses hurt a little bit more but you have to move on. The hardest part about the losses is accepting it but you have to move on.”
Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of...