Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/3/2009 (3066 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
And a name with legendary connections at that.
Already stacked at the running back position with veterans Fred Reid and Joe Smith as well as highly-touted newcomer Rodney Kinlaw -- not to mention former Hec Crighton winner Daryl Stephenson -- the Bombers may also be sniffing around about the services of Jarrett Payton, the former Montreal Alouette and son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Walter Payton.
The Montreal Gazette is reporting that Payton -- the Als' leading rusher in 2007 -- has drawn interest from two teams, the Bombers and Toronto Argonauts. That said, Bomber head coach Mike Kelly would shed no light on the subject, other than to say the club could take a look at Payton at one of their two remaining free-agent camps and compared the situation to speculation the team would work out former Hamilton-B.C. quarterback Casey Printers.
"It's the exact-same scenario," Kelly said Thursday. "You may hear of other names that come up and the answers will always be the same: we want to see as many players as we can over the next couple of weeks before we get to the (Canadian) draft (on May 9) so we know exactly where we are and what kind of position we've put ourselves in for the draft.
"We're investigating a lot of players right now. It's standard operational procedure and it's like I've been saying all along: we're looking to improve our competition in camp and improve our team overall. But for me to comment on any specific player, I don't think it's fair to the player in case things don't work out for them. We're going to look at a lot of players."
Interestingly, the Bombers tossed around Payton's name late last summer before swinging the deal that sent Charles Roberts to the B.C. Lions for Joe Smith. Payton, at 6-foot, 218 pounds, is a similar power back to Smith and rumbled for 852 yards and eight touchdowns in 13 games for Montreal in 2007. But the 28-year-old University of Miami product was injured through most of training camp last year and released in July.
"I'm interested in playing for anyone who needs a running back," Payton told the Gazette. "But you look at two teams (Toronto and Winnipeg) and I see the need. I have a couple of years left... good years.
"I feel confident, but it's not up to me. It's up to somebody else to see if I'm ready. I know I am. I've worked my butt off since I left Montreal, keeping myself ahead of the curve.
"All I want to do is play."
Worth noting here is Payton has played for Argonauts new head coach Bart Andrus before, both with the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europa and the NFL's Tennessee Titans.
Kelly, meanwhile, is convinced he needs to bring as much talent to Bomber camp this June to keep veterans hungry.
"One of the things I heard over and over again, and I saw it, too, is that the team underachieved," Kelly said of the 2008 Bombers. "How do you get a team to achieve its potential? Part of it is creating competition at camp so whether it's Jarrett or somebody else we're going to try and do our best to bring in the best players.
"We've been talking to players at every single position. I really want camp to be competitive."