WINNIPEG — Chris Garrett could hardly contain his excitement. But can you blame him, really?
“I’m very glad to be back here and to see the fans and be back with my teammates,” said Garrett, who missed all of last season due to an Achilles injury he suffered in the early stages of training camp.
“It was the biggest injury I’ve had, so I’m looking forward to getting back on the field and picking up where I left off,” he told BlueBombers.com.
Doing just that would certainly benefit the Bombers and their offensive efforts. When Garrett last saw action on a CFL field, he was busy boosting a Bombers attack all the way to the 99th Grey Cup in Vancouver, a game the Bombers would ultimately lose to the home-town Lions.
The devastating loss aside, the future appeared bright for the Blue and Gold at the time.
Garrett had stepped into Fred Reid’s role as the team’s number one tailback, having just finished his six-game season with a total of 576 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 92 carries. His quarterback, Buck Pierce, had displayed the leadership and toughness needed for a team to be successful on the offensive side of the ball and the defence was a more-than-confident one, as they were arguably the foundation of the team’s overall success.
But a lot has changed for the Bombers since Garrett last stepped in between the white lines. They have a new head coach and offensive coordinator in Tim Burke and Gary Crowton, the defence no longer has Odell Willis to provide the enthusiasm they featured so prominently in 2011, and Pierce is coming off a season where he appeared in only seven games due to a variety of injuries.
Knowing full-well that the on-field happenings were out of his control, Garrett was merely focused on getting himself healthy again.
“The approach I took in the off-season was to rehab and to get back to where I am now,” he said.
“It’s been a long uphill battle and I’m still doing things to get better but overall I feel like I’m back and better than I was before,” he added.
Burke is also pleased with the 26-year-old’s recovery efforts.
“The doctors are extremely happy with him. I didn’t really get a chance to focus on him – I just saw one time he made a cut that he looked good one – so that’s a real positive,” he said.
After accomplishing his first goal of recovering in time and well enough to play in 2013, Garrett must now wrestle away the starting running back job from Chad Simpson who, like Garrett, stormed onto the scene and won over Bomber fans with his up-the-middle toughness on the ground. So who do you think will be the Bombers’ starting running back in 2013? Vote below! With files from BlueBombers.com