Karikari '78%' set to sign on with Blue

'It's pretty much a go' for free-agent safety
By Ed Tait
THE Winnipeg Blue Bombers are on the verge of adding another key component in their continuing makeover of their much-maligned, often-abused defensive dozen.

Safety Richard Karikari -- a CFL all-star last season as a member of the Montreal Alouettes -- told the Free Press last night he has agreed in principle with the Bombers' latest contract offer.

An official announcement could come as early this morning once the Canadian defender signs the deal and faxes it back to the club. The agreement is believed to be worth an estimated $135,000 in 2006 and to cover two years and an option.

"Winnipeg's proposal is being faxed to me right now and I'm going to look it over but I would say -- I like to use numbers -- it's a 78 per cent go for Winnipeg," said Karikari. "I just want to make sure it's all there and so I'll read it over and let (Bomber GM) Brendan (Taman) know. It's pretty much a go. But I don't want to say it's 100 per cent and then get killed like (Edmonton Eskimo receiver) Ed Hervey did."

Hervey, for the record, agreed to a deal with the Ottawa Renegades last year before backing out and then remaining with the Esks.
Karikari's addition would be significant for the Bombers, who have already added middle linebacker Barrin Simpson in free agency and just yesterday announced the return of defensive end Ron Warner. The St. Francis-Xavier product finished second in the league last year with nine interceptions, while adding 43 tackles and three forced fumbles. He has the speed to stick with the league's faster receivers and has a knack for constantly being around the ball.

Admittedly 'nervous' about leaving Montreal -- the team which drafted him in 2003 -- Karikari said the Bombers' full-court press for his services played a key role in his decision.

"I said if the money was even I wasn't going to leave Montreal because that wouldn't make any sense," he said. "Winnipeg went over (Montreal), not as much as everybody was saying, but I looked at a lot of factors, too. To be honest, a lot of it had to do with me having the chance to talk to coach (Doug) Berry. He called me three-four times. I'm old school... if a coach calls me and tells me how I'm going to fit in their plans, I like that because I know they care. I'm not saying Montreal doesn't care... it's just coach (Don) Matthews and coach Berry are different people. They're both good in their different ways. But add up those things and the chance I had to talk to my father about it made me think that I have to give Winnipeg the chance.

"I wasn't sure what I was getting into," added Karikari. "I know a bit about (Bomber defensive co-ordinator) Greg Marshall and how he uses his defensive players. But, really, the hesitancy was because of the unknown in Winnipeg. Now that I have an idea of what they're trying to do and I've had to chance to talk to more people about the city, including coach Berry, I like what I'm hearing."

The Bombers now have five Canadian safeties under contract, including Karikari, Shawn Gallant, Mike Crumb, John Sullivan and Wilfrid Laurier product Ian Logan.

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

might wanna meaged this topic with the KK sings with BB methinks Mods

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Richard Karikari has all but decided to leave the Alouettes and sign with Winnipeg as a free agent. The Canadian safety said Doug Berry, the Blue Bombers' new head coach and Montreal's former offensive co-ordinator, played a pivotal role.

"I look at the little things. Doug Berry called me four or five times," Karikari told The Gazette last night. "For me, from my standpoint, those are the little things I look at. There were a lot of different factors. Obviously, money was a little part of it. But it's also about coaching and the type of team I'm going to."

Although Karikari spoke to Als general manager Jim Popp yesterday - the same time the Bombers made a final offer - the player said he found it "shocking" that he never heard from Montreal head coach Don Matthews.

The contract hasn't been signed and the deal could fall through, but Karikari has reached an agreement in principle with Winnipeg on a two-year pact, including an option year.

It has been widely reported the Bombers offered a base salary of $130,000 for the upcoming season, but sources on each team said both were enticing Karikari with contracts worth more than $130,000 annually. Winnipeg's includes a signing bonus and was restructured yesterday. The player's base salary was an estimated $62,500 last season.

"You know something, the difference in the two offers wasn't ridiculous," Karikari said. "They were pretty close. We're not talking about $40,000 or $50,000. It's a good contract and the numbers are pretty decent."

Drafted in the second round (14th overall) in 2003, Karikari spent three seasons with the Als, becoming a starter in 2005. He intercepted nine passes - second-highest in the CFL - returning one for an 81-yard touchdown. He could be replaced by Matthieu Proulx, Montreal's first-round draft choice last season.

Karikari is leaving a team that reached the Grey Cup last season, and has been in the league's championship game three of the last four years, for a Bombers club that went 5-13.

"I'm thinking about it now and wondering whether I'm making the right decision," Karikari admitted. "Montreal will probably get to the Eastern final and Grey Cup again. Montreal has talent and depth. Jim Popp can replace anybody and the Alouettes are always going to be good."

Notes - Veteran Als slotback Terry Vaughn vehemently denied he was owed an offseason bonus payment last week, as The Gazette reported. ... The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are expected to announce the acquisition of ex-Als receiver Kwame Cavil today from Edmonton for a draft choice.

im happy im asking my dad to buy me season tickets now!

....sounds like as of the present moment...with regard to his signing:

Montreal.....69%

Winnipeg.....31%

...BUT WAIT....that could change.... :lol:

It sounds to me that in addition to being on the fence, Karikari is till playing both teams for more $. He is definitely a very good player and being Canadian makes him more valuable for the import quota.

My dad got himself 2 season tickets for him and myself for last season just so we could get Grey Cup tickets but if things go good with Karikari and the rest of the team then I might be holding onto these for quite a while.

Well well well....as of today, looks like RK is undecided....

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"Right now, I'm just looking over the information. Nothing has changed," Karikari said late last night. "I'm not going to rush a decision that'll affect me for three years. I want everyone's full numbers before I decide."

o come on if i was him i would have made a decision 2 weeks ago! hes playing everyone for money and he said ''if i look at the deals it would take me 10 mins'' thats a pretty long 10 mins

very unproffesional! and im 13 yrs old i can make a decision faster than this

…Taman better not offer him any more dough…just tell him to sign in 24 hrs…or we take everything off of the table…and move on… :arrow:

i agree with u papa 100%.

If I was Taman, I'd say: "Karikari... here's my final offer. If you sign right away, we'll increase the phone calls to your house another 15%. Take it or leave it."

lol lol Third.....then I would add...after all is said and done ..'.we''ll give you one great BIG HUG....now ain't that better... :shock:

...it's looking more like ....98%....re-signs with Mont.

...2%...signs on with WPG.

...........100%.....traded to the Rens........ :lol:

all I have to say, and I think that everyone agrees with me on this.

KK, MAKE UP YOUR BLOODY MIND!!!!

amen to taht!

.......is that like some egyptian thing?......taht?........

it's in my language. :lol:

but serouily, this Karikari guy is giving my nickname "KK" a bad rep. As a potentsal star of the BB, he isn't making a good frist impression on me.

kanga I have only one request of you.......can you please quit spelling frist, it is really starting to get to me, f - i - r - s - t........

.....better than "ture", or 3nd.....the guy can spell Cascadia, but not true.....go figure.....

... and while you're at it, please, it's not "meaged" and "freach", its "merged" and "French".


R&W, I doubt "taht" is egyptian, because he said "Amen to taht", and Egyptians are not catholics. Perhaps its Lebanese...