Adarius Bowman chose Winnipeg because it felt like ‘home’

Adarius Bowman has always felt at home at Winnipeg’s Investors Group Field.

After signing a one-year contract with the Blue Bombers on Friday, the free-agent receiver can officially call it that for the first time.

Bowman, who played at the old Canad Inns Stadium as a member of the Blue Bombers from 2009-10 before joining the Edmonton Eskimos the following year, attended the ground-breaking ceremony at the Investors Group Field construction site in 2010.

“I dug one of the first holes into the ground here,” Bowman told reporters at a news conference. “I think it might still be a dose of that in me, even though I left away I can never forget that.”

The 32-year-old was cut by the Eskimos on Monday shortly before he was due to receive a $140,000 roster bonus.

Bowman spent the last seven seasons with Edmonton and had 45 catches for 534 yards and five TDs over 12 regular-season games in 2017. He added five receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns in two playoff contests.

With the Bombers, Bowman will be reunited with offensive co-ordinator Paul LaPolice, who served as his offensive co-ordinator with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2008.

Asked why he wanted to sign with Winnipeg, Bowman replied: “why not?”

“I definitely (wanted to be) around the offensive co-ordinator that I started my career with and it will be nice to finish it with him, so definitely excited to reunite with him,” Bowman continued. “After that, it was very simple to me – great group of guys, explosive offence, great defence, a team that I see is going to compete for the Grey Cup.

“When you’re in a position where you can actually choose, why not go where you feel is home to you?”

The six-foot-three, 215-pound Bowman had a club-record 120 catches for a league-high 1,759 yards and nine TDs in 2016. Edmonton signed him to a contract extension through 2018 following the record year.

He reportedly made $260,000 last season and was scheduled to make $265,000 this year, including the bonus.

Bowman is a three-time CFL all-star and three-time division all-star. He and Blue Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols previously played together with the Eskimos.

“Adarius will certainly add another level of playmaking ability to our offence,” Winnipeg general manager Kyle Walters said in a statement. “He has grown tremendously both on and off the field over his years in the CFL, and we’re excited to re-unite him with Matt Nichols and watch him work with our receivers in 2018.”

The former Oklahoma State star won a Grey Cup with Edmonton in 2015.