‘It is time’: Bombers’ GM Kyle Walters wants re-signed return man Janarion Grant more involved on offence

Courtesy: AP Photo/Larry MacDougal

It took more than two months since the opening of CFL free agency, but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were finally able to re-sign kick returner Janarion Grant to a contract extension.

Joining the 680 CJOB Sports Show, Bombers’ general manager Kyle Walters explained that the long wait time for a new deal wasn’t the intention of either party. Talks between the organization and the pint-sized playmaker were delayed a number of times, but a reunion always seemed the likeliest outcome.

“That’s a good question as to why it took so long,” Walters admitted. “It was just one of those ones that just dragged on and on. His agent was a busy guy and then Janarion was difficult to get ahold of at times, so it was just one of those examples where it sort of drags on although it felt all along like it was going to get done.”

“When they do go that long, you start kind of scratching your head a little bit as to why it’s taken so long, but we’re just happy it’s over and Janarion’s back.”

Grant first joined the club in July 2019 after first attending training camp with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Appearing in 11 games, Grant led the Blue Bombers in both punt and kickoff returns that season.

The five-foot-nine, 164-pounder dressed for only six regular season games due to injury in 2021 but led the Blue Bombers in both punt and kickoff return yardage. He brought back 34 punts for 375 yards and one touchdown and 12 kickoffs for 283 yards.

He also added nine punt returns for 64 yards and seven kickoff returns for 155 yards in the West Final against Saskatchewan and 108th Grey Cup against Hamilton.

The back-to-back Grey Cup champ has 1,957 combined return yards and four punt return touchdowns in 17 career CFL games, but has yet to make an impact on offence despite his game-breaking ability. Grant has just two catches for six yards with Winnipeg, but Walters believes that stat line may soon change.

“You know what, it is time. Janarion has been been in the offence for a couple years now and he should [get an opportunity],” the GM said.

“He’s electric with the ball in his hands. I know [offensive coordinator Buck Pierce] and the offensive guys will — whether he wins the starting job or wherever he fits into that plan — certainly try to utilize him more on offence if they can.”

Even if he can’t crack the receiving rotation, the Bombers know that Grant is a value add in their quest for the elusive championship three-peat. Winnipeg remains the Grey Cup favourite at most Ontario sportsbooks at +275 to win the title once again.

“It’s awesome to have Janarion back,” Walters said. “He’s explosive and we’re a better football team when he’s back there with the ball in his hands.”