With the Winnipeg Blue Bombers still unsure of where on defence they plan to play Adam Bighill, a four-time CFL all-star who was signed to a one-year deal last week, fans will have to wait to find out the inevitable fallout once a decision is finally made.
With Bighill now in the mix, that means someone will lose a starting spot at one of the linebacker positions — either at weak-side or in the middle — and who that will be is still up in the air.
One might think adding a late addition such as Bighill, who will surely be a starter once his role has been determined, might cause a few feathers to be ruffled among players fighting for those linebacker spots. But that doesn’t appear to be the case with the Bombers, with many players insisting that by adding an experienced player such as Bighill, it’s only going to create better the competition in camp, which will in turn benefit everybody.
"As a player you compete against yourself, you don’t ever compete against other people. You make mistakes on the field, that’s on you," said Quentin Gause, who prior to the Bighill signing was one of the front-runners to start at middle linebacker. "He’s coming in to do his job, I’m going to do my job and everybody in the linebacker’s room is going to do their job. If you’re thinking about somebody else, that means that you’re not confident in your abilities."
For those who might scoff at the thought of anyone showing even the faintest degree of disappointment in having a player such as Bighill reduce their chance for more playing time, you likely haven’t been part of a professional locker room. Players are naturally competitive, and it would only be human for some to feel the pinch of what is now a greater hill to climb in an already competitive camp.
It really does say something about the team’s character that it didn’t faze anybody," said linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox. "Our only focus is winning. The individual accolades, none of us care about that in our room. I think that’s a testament to coach (Mike) O’Shea, the kind of guy and the kind of leader he is."
ON THE HUNT: Bighill is in search of a new number.
The veteran linebacker wore No. 44 during his six-year stint with the B.C. Lions, a number he said dates back to when he was at Central Washington. But after signing a one-year deal with the Bombers last week following his release from the NFL, he soon realized the number he cherishes and uses in his Twitter name — @Bighill44 — has already been taken.
Despite his best efforts to persuade fellow linebacker Shayne Gauthier to relinquish the number, the desire by Gauthier to hold onto it now has Bighill looking for a new one.
"I talked to Shayne and he’s very… not protective of his number but he wants it," said Bighill. "He earned that right on this team and he’s created his professional career in that number, so I totally understand that he doesn’t want to give it up. From that, I’m going to work on finding a new number and create a new brand for myself."
ROSTER MOVE: the Bombers have released Ian Marouf just days after the Canadian defensive lineman was injured during Tuesday’s practice. The Bombers haven’t released an injury update on Marouf, but word is he suffered an Achilles injury and is likely to miss the remainder of the season.
After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.