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This article was published 27/5/2019 (1136 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
After spending the past few years with the B.C. Lions, defensive tackle Maxx Forde is feeling right at home in Winnipeg.
Even before arriving in the Prairies, Forde, who signed a one-year deal in February, had hoped a move out east would be in the cards. He had a friend in Blue Bombers defensive end Craig Roh, who spoke glowingly about the organization and the city, but praise for the Bombers started even before that quick chat over the off-season.
It was while he was in B.C. that teammate Bryant Turner Jr., who spent five seasons with the Bombers, told him how well he was treated in Winnipeg and how much he enjoyed living and playing here.
"I remember back in the day, he told me that if I ever got a chance to play in Winnipeg, I had to take it. So, when I was coming up on free agency this year, I was kind of looking around and I thought Winnipeg might be a good opportunity with how the team’s been doing," Forde said Monday after the Bombers wrapped up Day 9 of training camp at IG Field. "I was hoping it would come to fruition and it just so happened that they ended up offering me a contract. I was excited about that and I’m happy to be here."
Forde is considered Canadian despite being born in Seattle and growing up in Woodinville, Wash. He earned his national status through his father, Brian Forde, who was born and raised in Montreal before playing three seasons with the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and then in the CFL, winning the Grey Cup with the Lions in 1994.
The younger Forde attended college at the University of Idaho, though his professional career took him to Canada after aspirations to make the NFL fizzled. He joined the Lions in 2015 but didn’t get into a game until two seasons later, playing in 22 games between the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Injuries limited him to just four games in 2018, but Forde insists he’s ready to push for playing time on the D-line. He’s currently pencilled in behind Jake Thomas on the interior, and if the Bombers go with a Canadian starter there, he could see his opportunity vastly improve.
The chance to stick around a group that’s embraced him since he first arrived is exactly what he’s fighting for and what’s giving him motivation each day.
"Just seeing the fans out here has been pretty cool. This locker room is so tight-knit, it’s different from anything I’ve ever been a part of or experienced," Forde said.
"I’m excited to see what this D-line can do, because across the board and all the way down the depth chart, you got a lot of great players. Top to bottom, end to end, this D-line is pretty stacked. I’m excited to see what we can do and there’s going to be a lot of anxious quarterbacks."
Whitehead turns heads with feet
Receiver Lucky Whitehead, a front-runner to take over return duties this year, stole the spotlight at practice Monday with his blistering speed.
Taking the ball near the left sidelines, he turned and sprinted the opposite way, leaving would-be tacklers in his dust. The 5-9, 180-pounder quickly caught the eye of the fans in attendance and after the workout was praised by head coach Mike O’Shea.
"We got a pretty good group of newcomers that are explosive and fast and guys that can provide quite a bit of energy when they have the ball in their hands. Lucky is one of them, for sure," O’Shea said. "He flat-out showed his speed today in practice and I don’t even really know if that’s really game speed yet for him. But we got a bunch of guys like that, that I can’t wait to see in action."
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.