Crapigna excited to be with Big Blue

Tyler Crapigna didn’t have much time to digest being released by the Montreal Alouettes on Sunday.

His services were immediately in demand with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers extending an invitation to join their training camp.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind,” said the veteran 28-year-old placekicker after his second day of practice with the Blue Bombers Thursday. “I mean obviously coming from Montreal, driving back to Ottawa and then hopping right on a flight the next day to Winnipeg, it’s been a lot. But at the end of the day, I’m happy to be here and this is where I want to be so I’m excited for it.”

Crapigna, who joins rookie placekicker/punter Marc Liegghio on the roster, has an 85.2 per cent career success rate kicking field goals, having connected on 98 of 115 attempts in a career spanning 2015 to 2019 while playing for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Toronto Argonauts.

He missed the entire 2018 campaign due to injury.

“I’ve just gotta keep a level head and realize that, ‘OK this opportunity didn’t work out here but another one comes up and I think my past and my history in this league speaks for itself,’ ” said Crapigna. “(If) I’m able to come here and replicate what I’ve done in the past, that’s all that matters.”

Crapigna signed a two-year extension in Toronto just before the pandemic and was then traded to Montreal. Including Crapigna, the Als had four kickers and one punter in camp. It is unlikely the Bombers see him as a potential punter and placekicker.

“I came in here to contribute field goal-wise and kickoff-wise,” said Crapigna. “I don’t have any history in the league of punting. I mean, (I’m) serviceable, I can get you out of a game. They know that… and I feel pretty confident doing all… three if need be, but my expertise really kind of lies in the place kicking and kickoffs.”

Having both a placekicker and punter on the roster is unusual in the modern CFL and that may have hastened his departure from Toronto.

“Maybe that could have been in part (because of) Toronto not having a Canadian punter to kind of pair with me,” said Crapigna. “That seems to be kind of the case for a lot of the teams around the league, at least over the years is that they’re maybe not willing to go with that Canadian kicker/American punter kind of combo. I know it’s in Ottawa, but… rarely do you see that around the league, so I guess it all comes down to whatever teams want.”

Head coach Mike O’Shea, whose club opens the regular season on Aug. 5 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, was asked about the likelihood of keeping have a punter and placekicker on the active roster.

“Yeah, we could probably do that,” said O’Shea. “I don’t know that I’ve looked at the roster that closely but I mean that’s obviously quite doable I’m sure.”

TIDBITS: Running back Andrew Harris was in uniform but remained a spectator again for most of Thursday’s workout and that isn’t likely to change soon.

O’Shea wants the 34-year-old to save his legs for the regular season.

“I said that right from the get-go that if I asked him to practise, he would be out there practising and I haven’t asked him to practice,” said O’Shea. “I want him doing other things.”

Twitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

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