He's itching to get back on the field and smack somebody upside the head, especially after missing all but four games last year.

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This article was published 21/1/2009 (4657 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

He's itching to get back on the field and smack somebody upside the head, especially after missing all but four games last year.

But, Barrin Simpson admits, given the way his '08 season ended -- with him healthy but not dressed for the playoff game -- he had little hope his next tackle in the CFL would be as a Winnipeg Blue Bomber.

"At the end of last year I was pretty sure I wouldn't be back," Simpson said Wednesday when his return to Winnipeg, reported last week, was made official by the club. "But when I went to management at the end of the year they told me to be patient because some things were going to be happening.

Barrin Simpson could be part of a new 3-4 defensive alignment.

MARC GALLANT / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES

Barrin Simpson could be part of a new 3-4 defensive alignment.

"It's been a bit of a roller coaster, but that's what we sign up for when we play this game. That's sports. There's nothing guaranteed because it's a 'what have you done for me today?' business. One day you could be ready to pack your bags and the next day you're invited to stay."

A six-time CFL all-star and perennial tackle machine, the 31-year-old Simpson tore his pectoral muscle in a loss to the B.C. Lions last July. His immediate replacement, rookie Joe Lobendahn, was solid in his place. And when Lobendahn was injured in September, the Bombers landed Zeke Moreno from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Three middle linebackers, one spot... Simpson did the math.

But now there is talk of a conversion to a 3-4 (three lineman, four linebackers) defensive scheme under new defensive co-ordinator Mark Nelson. And Simpson, after chatting with the new regime, figures he's still got a future here -- albeit with a smaller paycheque. The eight-year veteran confirmed he has taken a pay cut to return.

"We reworked the deal," said Simpson. "Hey, we get paid to play and any time you miss 14 games you'd better believe you're going to take a pay cut. You need to be on the field. But we came to a fair deal that allows us to do some other things to help the team."

BLUE NOTES: The Bombers have spoken to seven prospective GM/player personnel director candidates at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Al. Head coach Mike Kelly said that they've narrowed that list down to three as the replacement to Brendan Taman, with an announcement expected shortly.

 

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca