5 Quick Hits on Day 7 of Blue Bombers training camp:
1. MORE MUSCLE?!?!: It’s in Jonathan Kongbo’s DNA to work hard. As evidence you may recall that back in his days at the University of Tennessee he won the 2018 John Stucky award as Volunteers’ best performer in the weight room.
And so when the Blue Bombers defensive end arrived in Winnipeg in 2019 as a first-round draft pick he was already carved in stone at 6-5, 255 pounds. Now back with the club after spending the summer of 2020 in the training camp of the San Francisco 49ers and a short stint this year in The Spring League, Kongbo has added another 15 pounds to his already-chiselled frame.
“Ever since the Grey Cup happened, a couple weeks later I had some workouts for some NFL teams so I’ve just been training since then until now,” he said. “I’ve put on about 15 pounds of muscle and have been trying to be very consistent with my diet, training and whatnot.”
Just FYI, Kongbo said he wasn’t trying to reach a target weight. It’s just that when you dedicate your life to the weight room and training, the good gains happen.
“It just came with all the lifting. I tried not to set a goal, I just told myself from now until whenever I play football again I’m just going to put my head down and do everything I can — workout, eat right, sleep right all that and the 15 came on.”
2. OUCH REPORT: DE Jackson Jeffcoat returned to practice on Friday. Not participating were RBs Andrew Harris and Johnny Augustine, LB Robbie Lowes, OL Michael Couture, WR/KR Charles Nelson and CB Mike Jones.
3. FYI/RANDOM OBSERVATIONS: Some vets took the second session off, including WR Darvin Adams, who was sensational in the morning and then was very vocal helping receivers out later in the morning… With Jones taking a breather on Friday, Christian Angulo and DeAundre Alford got a lot of work at the cornerback spots with the 1s today… Standing out today, among many, was QB Zach Collaros, who connected with Adams for a long gain, and to Kenny Lawler on one of those rolling left/rolling right plays that had one observer remark ‘that was shades of Week 20 in 2019’ when he hit Adams for a memorable TD in a win over Calgary… TD catches spotted by the naked eye today included Dalton Sneed hitting Montay Crockett and Carlton Agudosi; C.J. Worton on a pass from Sean McGuire and Dru Brown to Worton as well. Three of the best catches included a sideline reception by Davon Grayson on a throw from McGuire, Lawler in the end zone over a DB’s back from Collaros and Alonzo Russell, Sr. over the middle on a connection with Brown.. DBs who had good moments included Deatrick Nichols, Jamalcolm Liggins, Redha Kramdi, Mazzi Wilkins and Sergio Schiaffino Perez… DE Willie Jefferson leaped high in the sky to pick off a would-be interception — it looked a lot like his pick in the 2018 Banjo Bowl… University of Manitoba Bisons WR Macho Bockru was busy today, too, pulling in a number of passes.
4. GLOBAL TRAILBLAZER: Bombers DE Thiadric Hansen met with the media on Friday and one of the topics that came up was his role in 2019 as the face of the CFL’s Global initiative. It was a label that he might not have been comfortable with at first as he was fixated solely on just making the Bombers roster and improving, but learned to adopt later in that Grey Cup season.
“In 2019 when it came to the end of the season my teammates told me that could be my role. Embrace it,” Hansen said. “As I started making more and more plays I was the face of the Global program and I wanted to embrace that. I wish all the other guys after me get the same chances as me and had as good environment as me here in Winnipeg.
“We’ve got talent over there in Europe and in the world, definitely and you can see the next wave this year, there are so many players who went to D-1 colleges… it’s going to grow and grow and grow and I really take pride in that.”
5. THE LAST WORD: Drew Wolitarsky also visited with the media via Zoom on Friday in a 14-minute session that — in typical Wolitarsky fashion — was both entertaining and enlightening. Some of that will be featured in further detail in today’s main story.
We’ve written a lot about Wolitarsky’s burgeoning music career on bluebombers.com and, just FYI, he released two new songs today and here’s a plug for his new music video.
“These are songs that are very heartfelt and kind of about this last year and the unknown and developing a different part about myself, being about the football player and a musician and really accepting both those things and having them support each other.”
Asked in his session to comment about Wolitarsky, Bombers head coach piled up the praise on the veteran receiver.
“He’s a very good football player,” O’Shea said. “He knows what everybody’s job is and what they’re supposed to do and he’s extremely helpful for everybody and always a teacher out there for the younger guys.
“Just his personality, his character… he’s a unique individual and you don’t find many pro football players like him. I just think it shows a lot of people that you can be yourself and you have have a lot of other interests and football can be one of them and it can be your major one when you’re here playing or traiing. But its ok to have a pile of other interests and just keep busy off the field when you’re not doing football. Fill your day with interesting things and challenging things. I’ll say this, Drew Wolitarsky is an inspiring young man. Being around him, it makes you want to do more.”
When told that Wolitarsky had commented that he and the head coach were similar in a lot of ways, O’Shea grinned and added:
“That may take a few beers. I do really appreciate Drew’s outlook and his ability to communicate with everybody on the team. He sees the good in everybody. and he’s willing to take the time to be a good teammate to everybody on the team. That is a vital role for everybody. Besides the fact that he is an extremely good football player, you need guys like that on your team.”