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August 9, 2018

Back Where It Began: Westerman excited for return to Winnipeg

Johany Jutras/CFL.ca

WINNIPEG — Just a few days before he’s set to make his return to Investors Group Field for the first time since leaving the Blue Bombers in free agency this off-season, Jamaal Westerman admitted Friday night’s contest isn’t just another game on the CFL schedule.

“I’m coming back for the food at Colosseo’s,” the Tiger-Cats defensive end chuckled during a media conference call on Wednesday. “I’m excited to come back to Winnipeg. It’s where I spent the first three years of my CFL career. I know the team, I know what they stand for. I have a lot of respect for what they do there in their organization and on the team. I’m excited to go and play.”

The 33-year-old called Winnipeg home for three years (2015-2017) and collected 118 defensive tackles, 32 sacks and four forced fumbles over that time span. He was a staple in the Bombers locker room and on the defensive line before departing for the Alouettes this off-season.

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In a strange twist of events, this weekend’s contest versus the Bombers will be the third time that Westerman has suited up against a former team this year. As a member of the Als – before he was traded to Hamilton in Week 7 – Winnipeg paid a visit to Montreal in Week 2. After he was sent to The Hammer, he and the Tiger-Cats made the trip East to Percival Molson Stadium to for a matchup against the Alouettes.

And now, he’s set to play Winnipeg once again.

“Even watching film this week I always tend to watch Winnipeg and not looking how the defence is doing, how they’re playing,” said Westerman, explaining how to approach playing games against former teams.

“During the game it’s not really weird because it’s another opponent and you try to focus. You forget the friends and relationships, you kind of just focus on playing the game, your technique, your preparation and how to come out there with a W and that’s what we want. I think if you focus too much on, “oh, I used to be there” or “I was there” you end up getting yourself out of your game plan.”

During the media conference call, and to no one’s surprise, Westerman admitted that the Ticats have picked his brain for any information on the Bombers, especially on any trickery that offensive coordinator Paul LaPolice is known for. He also joked around with his former mate Andrew Harris, who was also on the call, laughing that the dirt he had on the Bombers running back was that doesn’t like to play in the heat.

“I told them (Hamilton) some of the code words but I know they’ve probably changed a lot of things,” said Westerman. “I really had more information last week on Montreal because I was there so close. But I know Winnipeg, they’re probably changing some things and doing some things a little differently. Even watching them on film, sometimes you see that’s not what they did last year, they’re doing things differently now. As much as I could give, I try to give.”

Westerman and the Ticats look to improve to 4-4 with a win on Friday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.