Chris Cvetkovic knows what it’s like to be a pawn in a CFL spy game.
Five days before the 2003 West semifinal at Canad Inns Stadium, the Bombers asked Cvetkovic to come join them. He had spent the entire season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders but was not listed on any of their official rosters.
Winnipeg’s opponent five days later was, of course, the Roughriders, so you better believe the Bomber coaching staff milked Cvetkovic for all he was worth.
“The first thing I did is I met coach (Dave) Ritchie, and then I went right into see special teams coach Less Browne and I gave them everything I had,? said Cvetkovic, who is currently Winnipeg’s long snapper.
“They asked me about any fakes we had been working on, our schemes. I was repping at backup fullback at the time, so they asked me some stuff about our offence. That’s the nature of the sport. Everybody wants to find the inside scoop and know what’s going on and have a camera at someone else’s practice.?
Roy Shivers, who was Saskatchewan’s GM at the time, was livid with Winnipeg for signing Cvetkovic. Bombers GM Brendan Taman said they had every right to grab Cvetkovic because he wasn’t on any official roster in Regina.
Cvetkovic obviously wasn’t much help for the Bombers, who got smoked 37-21 in the West semifinal, but he believes he wasn’t just a pawn. He has proven that by carving out an eight-year career with the Blue and Gold as one of the CFL’s best long snappers.
“They had five Canadians go down in two weeks, like (Warren) Muzika and all these old guys,? Cvetkovic said. “They asked me if I wanted to come in and play instead of sitting at home collecting a (practice roster) cheque in Saskatchewan, and I was like absolutely I want to play.?
One CFL coach, who wished to remain anonymous, said teams can’t get much out of a player that they haven’t already seen on film, so the chances Terence Jeffers-Harris will be able to help Hamilton are probably slim.
“Maybe a small key here or there,? the coach said Friday. “I think a defensive player may give you more. You’d be surprised how little some of these players know about what their scheme is. You try and get tidbits that may key a blitz or a coverage. They may get a key for a special play but not much else.?
Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice was Winnipeg’s offensive co-ordinator in 2003.