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October 19, 2017

48-Hour Primer | WPG at TOR

This is a peek at the Christopher Givens we have slowly been learning about this week:

He is standing in the south end zone of Investors Group Field Thursday afternoon after Winnipeg Blue Bombers practice, and politely answering questions about how and why he is here and what he might bring to the field Saturday afternoon in Toronto against the Argonauts in his Canadian Football League debut.

The former St. Louis Rams draft pick – a man with 60 NFL games under his belt – is in Winnipeg essentially because the opportunities down south dried up after his release by the Philadelphia Eagles late last August, because he simply wanted to get back on the field, and because this shot with the Bombers is “a great opportunity to do something different, learn something new, try something different and just get to play football. That’s the biggest thing for me, being able to do what I love.”

And come Saturday afternoon he will begin a transformation; a game day metamorphosis from Christopher Givens to C.G.; from regular dude to baller.

Here’s how that works…

“I’m more even-keeled throughout the day and then once I put my helmet on, it’s time to go play ball and I just let it all loose,” Givens explained. “I’m out here for one thing and that’s to win.

“I wear one eye black… once I put my one eye black on then it’s just ‘C.G.’ I go into the bathroom and put it on and once I come out of the bathroom I’m ‘C.G.’ Completely different attitude, completely different mojo.”

The Bombers could use some offensive mojo on Saturday and for the rest of the year, after the devastating news that Darvin Adams – the club’s 1,000-yard receiver and best deep threat – will likely be lost for the season with a shoulder injury. The offence does welcome back veteran Weston Dressler, but without Adams and Timothy Flanders, could also use another threat to augment a starting corps that also includes Julian Feoli-Gudino, Clarence Denmark and L’Damian Washington.

Enter Givens, who dressed for 60 games with the Rams and Baltimore Ravens – starting 31 – and pulled in 107 passes for 1,779 yards and five TDs between 2012-15.

And so this opportunity with the Bombers isn’t just a new team in a new league with different rules. It’s about rekindling his love for the game that has been his livelihood.

Just as important, Saturday’s game and what comes after is about potentially finding a new football home. That adjustment can be difficult when a guy is parachuted in during the season, as opposed to earning his spot through training camp.

“Sometimes you have to follow before you can lead,” said Givens. “So I just came in and after watching the film, followed the guys I saw were making plays and doing all the right things. You’ve just got to follow those guys and trust them and knowing guys like Weston and Clarence, they’re not going to steer you in the wrong direction. Whenever I have a question I go to them or one of the quarterbacks.

“Honestly, I just want to go out there and gain everybody’s trust. That’s the biggest thing: having Matt trust me, having the coaches trust me, the whole offence, including the defence. I’m going to go out there and execute my assignments, catch the ball when it’s thrown my way and try to make a play when I can.”

Oh, and one of the biggest adjustments – aside from transforming again from Christopher to C.G. – will just be getting back into game mode.

“I’m just ready to get hit, honestly. That’s the biggest thing… once I get hit, I’m good. I’m hoping it’s not a big hit,” said Givens with a grin. “But I’m hoping to get the contact out of the way and it’s time to play ball then. I don’t like to get hit, but I know I need to.”

At the end of his chat Thursday Givens was asked if he had to ‘shed some of that too good for this league’ attitude, after coming north from the NFL.

And his answer might offer even more insight into Christopher/C.G.

“No… because I haven’t played football for a year,” he said. “That shed everything for me. That was my humble pie. That was my humility. I’m just going to learn from it, continue to try and grow to be the best person I can be more than the best athlete I can be.”


BOMBERS REPORT – October 19, 2017

The Bombers completed their final full practice today in advance of Saturday’s date in Toronto against the Argonauts.

Here is the news of the day before the team is wheels up to the Big Smoke Friday…

GOOD SIGN

Bombers coach Mike O’Shea was asked after practice how he thinks the team has handled losing Maurice Leggett, Darvin Adams and Jamaal Westerman in the last few weeks.

“As expected, as they should,” said O’Shea. “Even the young guys have been in football long enough to understand that injuries happen and you have to keep marching forward. Part of that is for the guy that’s not playing, right?”

FITTING IN

Veteran receiver Weston Dressler was asked to weigh in Thursday on what he thought the goal of the team would be in the last three games of the regular season.

“In the offensive room we’re trying to figure out a few pieces right now with the injuries and where the guys are going to be,” said Dressler. “It’s finding that comfort level within a few of the newer positions. I think we’ve got the guys in the room that are capable of playing and playing well and helping us win games.”

Dressler returns to the lineup after missing three games – his second stint in sick bay after missing four games earlier in the year.

“It’s been a tough year for me,” said Dressler. “I’ve missed more games this year than at any other time in my career. That’s been the tough part. But I’ve had a lot of fun with the guys in this locker room. Being a 10-year veteran of the league I’ve been able to help guys out here and there and have been trying to give them a little insight as to what the CFL game is, especially the younger guys, and trying to show them the way, a little bit.

“I’m looking forward to getting back on the field and contributing in that way.”

FYI

The CFL sent out its weekly player discipline report on Thursday and only one player was fined in Week 17: Bombers centre Matthias Goossen for an ‘unnecessary hit to a vulnerable player (Micah Awe) in the game against the B.C. Lions.’ The fine amount was not disclosed…Bomber fans have wondered if the club would be interested in adding former LB Tony Burnett, cut by the Lions this week, or Montreal Alouettes receiver Tiquan Underwood, also released. Teams are allowed to add players cut from other CFL teams at this time of year, but they would not be able to play this year as the addition would have come after the trade deadline… Earlier this week the Prairie Football Conference announced its all-star team and among them was Winnipeg Rifles Xander Tachinski, who still works out and trains with the Bombers.