March 21, 2024

D’Sean Mimbs leaning on father Robert Mimbs for Combine advice

D’Sean Mimbs took to the stage in the Concert Room at the Fort Garry Hotel – a space featuring chandeliers, ornate woodwork and seemingly more suited to a coronation than pumping iron – and promptly cranked out 14 reps in the bench press at the Canadian Football League’s Combine.

And 536 kilometres to the west in Regina his father, former Winnipeg Blue Bomber running back Robert Mimbs, was sweating every rep from his sales office at Capital GMC.

“I’ll tell you what, watching something like that is really stressful,” began Mimbs in a chat with “You want him to do well and be the best he can be, but you also don’t want to put any more pressure on them.

“I went through this kind of stuff before, and I know how hard it is to get there. So, to see him get there makes you realize it’s possible, but it’s such a hard route. It’s hard because I saw him when he was young and I knew what it took to get to pro ball and so you just keep encouraging him and saying, ‘We’ll keep doing this or we’ll keep doing that.’ It’s hard not for me to not think about where it first started on a day like this.

“I know that road. It’s a long, crooked road. It’s not straight, that’s for sure. It’s a bend here, a battle, an uphill climb… and then you get to a downhill stretch and things are going great and then all of a sudden something bad happens. It’s as much a mental game.”

Mimbs lived all of that and then some during his three seasons (1990-92) with the Blue Bombers. He led the CFL in rushing in 1990 and 1991, was the club’s Most Outstanding Player both seasons and finished as the runner up to Doug Flutie for CFL MOP in 1991, the same year he set a Blue Bombers single season rushing record that still stands with 1,769 yards.

“Oh man… I thought it was going to be easy,” he recalled. “I come in for my first year and you lead the league in rushing, you lead the team in this and that and you win the Grey Cup?! I’m like, ‘Oh man, my career is going to be unbelievable!’ Then everything else comes into play with contracts and the money, this person doesn’t like you and so on.”

But by ’92 his workload had diminished, and he was released after just seven games.

“It was me and Cal (Murphy, GM). We just didn’t see eye-to-eye when it was time to get paid,” said Mimbs. “He said he could find running backs; I said, ‘Well, yeah, but can they last? Can they take the pounding?’ I never got hurt. Never missed a game, never missed a practice. It was just when it was time to get paid, they didn’t want to do it and that was that.”

He signed with the B.C. Lions and spent ’92-93 there before finishing up his career in Saskatchewan with the Roughriders, leading the CFL in rushing for a third time in 1996.

Mimbs stayed in Regina to raise his family, including D’Sean, who began his collegiate career at the University of Saskatchewan before finishing up at the University of Regina.

All these years later D’Sean is about to begin his own journey to the pros. A gifted receiver, he had 30 receptions for 460 yards and a TD for the Rams in six games last year.

“I’m so excited for the testing, for everything,” D’Sean said in a chat with before Thursday’s testing. “There’s a lot of great receivers here, too, and I want to show how competitive I am with them and then test better than every single one of them.

“I’ve been talking to my dad a lot and he said to not let all the media buzz around it get into your head. Everyone is talking about certain players, and they might not be talking about you, but not to let that bother you and just go out and do my own thing.

“I talk to him a lot because he had a huge influence on my sporting career in general – basketball, baseball, soccer, football – he was engaged in every single moment of it. All this work now is paying off now that I’m at the combine. I’m excited to show off what I’m all about.

“What I remember most is he would help me with training and would say things like, ‘If you’re going to do something, do it to your full capabilities.’ And then he wouldn’t interfere and just let me choose what I wanted to do in whatever sport.”

Mimbs said he’s only seen snippets of his dad’s dominance from his playing days – even in just 2 ½ years in Blue Bombers colours he finished his career Top 10 in club history in rushing.

“I’ve tried to YouTube it and I’ve really only seen a few highlights,” he said. “He used to have an old VHS tape of the Grey Cup, but other than that I haven’t seen much. I’ve seen the numbers and heard the stories, though.”

Mimbs’ athletic gifts don’t come solely from his father. His mother Jaimie still runs triathlons.

“She does Ironman competitions,” explained Robert. “People say, ‘Well, D’Sean got his speed from you, but he got his work ethic from his mother.’ That’s a fact. I’m not doing an Ironman, that’s for sure. That’s a whole different level of dedication.”

Mimbs expected his phone to blow up with texts from his son after Thursday’s testing, which also included the vertical, 40-yard dash, 3-cone, short shuttle, and broad jump.

“The key is to just keep moving because these kids have got a lot going on in a short time,” he said. “I told him, ‘Son, you’ll get drafted where you get drafted. Don’t worry about that.’ But I do know one thing: come May 8th he will be in a CFL camp. I have no doubt in my mind on that. Right now, he’s got to soak it all in and enjoy it.”

“Oh, I’ll do that,” added D’Sean. “This is a moment in a lifetime. I don’t think I ever want to forget an experience like this.”