The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have turned to Halifax native Steve Morley to patch their weakened offensive line.
The Blue Bombers signed the six-foot-seven, 322-pound free agent to a three-year contract yesterday, hoping he will compensate for the losses of starters Alexandre Gauthier, Dominic Picard and Kyle Koch. All three signed with other teams.
“I’m happy about it — they’ve given me an opportunity and I’m going to take advantage of it,” said Morley, reached by phone at his home in Halifax. “They told me I can step right in and help out. That’s definitely what I wanted to hear.”
The 27-year-old has played the past two seasons in the CFL after spending three years in the NFL with the New York Jets, Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys.
He was a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders last season, appearing in six games. He battled injuries and had knee surgery for a torn meniscus in December.
Morley, a two-time Vanier Cup champion with the Saint Mary’s Huskies, said his knee has already returned to 100 per cent. He has been running on it for a month and is working out at The Tower in Halifax until training camp begins in June.
He said the three-year deal was important. Although the final year is an option, it’s the longest contract he has ever had.
“It was time to do a long-term deal,” said Morley, a former No. 1 overall CFL draft pick. “It will be nice to get some stability, and I thought the best place to do it was in Winnipeg.”
Morley said the Blue Bombers showed the most interest in him and provide a “better opportunity” for his career.
Winnipeg went to the playoffs last year with an 8-10 record and lost in the Eastern semifinals. They fired head coach Doug Berry in the off-season, replacing him with Mike Kelly.
“They definitely lost some O-linemen but they have a new coach and good football philosophy,” he said. “They’re pretty gung-ho to go and I’m excited to get in there and help out.”