Janarion Grant’s improbable debut flies Bombers to win against Stampeders

Screenshot courtesy: BlueBombers.com

Janarion Grant can fly and he took off in a hurry for the Blue Bombers.

Grant had two punt return touchdowns, 76 and 83 yards respectively as Winnipeg wins the Western showdown.

Grant found a seam straight down the middle for his first CFL major on his second career touch. And touchdown number two came on Grant’ fifth return.

The three-down pro league rookie recorded 222 yards on seven punt returns – 31.7 average – and the pair of touchdowns. it’s the eighth time in league history a player has returned two punts for scores in a single game and first Bomber ever to do it.

Most of the excitement came from Grant in a 26-24 Winnipeg victory against the Stampeders. Just a couple weeks ago, July 23, Grant was signed by the Bombers. He went to training camp with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but was released o June 18. Less than two months later, Grant appears to be a budding star.

The Trilby, Florida native scored 77 touchdowns at Pasco High School and earned a scholarship to Rutgers University. He became the main returner for the Scarlet Knights as a freshman. Through 46 games at Rutgers, Grant returned 115 kick-offs for 2,857 yards and five touchdowns while hauling in 52 punts taking them for 588 yards with three going for touchdowns.Grant did see time on offence catching 99 balls for 1,062 yards and two touchdowns plus 36 rushes for 344 yards and four touchdowns.

After his senior season in 2018, Grant went unselected in the NFL draft, but inked a free agent contract with the Baltimore Ravens. Following a strong training camp with the Ravens he made the final roster as their primary kick and punt returner, but one fumble each in Week 1 and Week 2 of the NFL season saw Grant cut from the roster. He remained on the practice squad for the rest of the season. NFL options dried up and Grant came north of the border.

Thankfully for Winnipeg, Grant protected the football and revealed the tantalizing ability shown in the NCAA at the pro level. The five-foot-10, 173-pound playmaker provided the Bombers only two touchdowns of the game versus Calgary. Matt Nichols and the offence didn’t fid the end zone. Winnipeg’s quarterback completed 18-of-22 passes but for just 177 yards.

It was Andrew Harris who allowed the blue and gold to control the clock – 33 minutes and 41 seconds. The Canadian back recorded his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season on 19 carries. Those numbers included two key runs of seven and 10 yards on the final possession of the matchup to keep the football out of Calgary’s hands. Harris leads the league with 746 rushing yards.

Winnipeg’s strong running attack proved to be crucial in helping Grant’s two touchdown performance, the second gave the Bombers the lead for good, hold up as enough points to edge out the Stamps. Grant’s athleticism and speed (4.56 40-yard dash) were front and centre at IG Field in front of 25,354 fans and hundreds of thousands more watching on TV.

From NFL and CFL releases, things change just as quick as Grant’s burst through the hole.