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This article was published 19/10/2009 (3745 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
He's 42 and hasn't kicked in a real game in about 16 months. But the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are hoping Troy Westwood still has some life left in his left leg.
Bomber head coach Mike Kelly announced Monday the team has added the 16-year veteran to their practice roster and he could punt for the team as early as this Saturday when the Montreal Alouettes pay a visit.
Westwood will be on the practice field Tuesday afternoon and if he can prove he can handle the punting, he'll take that load from Alexis Serna. Mike Renaud, the team's regular punter, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Thanskgiving. And while Serna filled in capably in the interim, he also missed two field goals in Sunday's 24-21 loss to the B.C. Lions and Kelly wants him to concentrate solely on the placekicking.
Enter Westwood, the team's all-time leading scorer.
"At my age when that much time passes when you've been cut or released it's very unusual to get an opportunity. So, I'm very aware of how precious this opportunity is and I plan on making the most of it," said Westwood.
"Someone asked me (Sunday) early in the day if there was any chance of me maybe coming back to punt and I said, 'There's absolutely no hope whatsoever of that.' So I just about fell over when I checked my phone at the movie theatre. I was very surprised and I've been more or less just trying to contain or control my emotions since that point. I've felt like vomiting for the vast majority of the day so far."
Westwood said he has been kicking fairly regularly and played soccer all summer. But he hasn't kicked in game conditions since the preseason of 2008 before he was released by then-head coach Doug Berry.
"This is not a condemnation at all on what Alexis Serna did yesterday," said Kelly. "But this gives us an opportunity to bring Troy in on the practice roster and see what he can do. If, in fact, we feel he can help us then we will activate him and it allows Alexis to just do what he's doing better than just about anybody in the league this year and that's kick extra points and field goals. Troy's kept himself in great shape and I just think it could be beneficial in a lot of different ways.
"We're fortunate that we have someone like Westwood who unceremoniously was disbarred from this organization last year. That isn't how we want to treat Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Troy is a hall-of-fame type player here in my humble eyes. For him to be more or less be discarded the way he was... I don't want players who are long-time Bombers to think that's the kind of fate they face in some point. He should have left this club with a little more dignity than what he left it with last year.
"We'll give him an opportunity. If it works out, great. And if it doesn't then he'll know he's always going to be a Blue Bomber in our eyes."
To view a replay of the live stream of Mike Kelly and Troy Westwood's media scrum, go to our Livestream Channel.
Updated on Monday, October 19, 2009 at 1:20 PM CDT: Adds live feed to come at 2 p.m.
3:31 PM: Replaced with new version with quotes