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Dave Naylor’s Kickoff: Bighill thriving in blue

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TSN Analyst and Host


Adam Bighill had been a BC Lion for six seasons and was prepared to return to the franchise after his one-year hiatus in the National Football League with the New Orleans Saints.

But it turned out the team that wanted him most wasn’t in Vancouver. It was two time zones away in Winnipeg, with a rich history at the linebacker position and a need in the middle just as Bighill became available.

It was hard to think of a player and a team that were a better fit – at least once Bighill had wrapped his mind around becoming a Blue Bomber.

“At first it was definitely a challenge, where you said to yourself, ‘Okay, this is going to be a little different,’” said the 29-year-old, who returns to B.C. Saturday night in a rematch after Winnipeg beat the Lions 41-19 last weekend. “The first time putting on the blue was different because you don’t know people and it was a fresh start. But it’s been a warm welcome from a great group of guys.

“With the atmosphere, it’s a very football-oriented city, so being in Winnipeg they make you feel at home. I’ve been wearing blue long enough that I definitely feel like a Bomber.”

Winnipeg fans have certainly welcomed Bighill, seeing him as not just a spectacular athlete but a heart-and-soul kind of player who can help a talented group reach its potential.

Last week against his former team, Bighill made six tackles and pulled down a pair of interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown.

“Anywhere I’ve played I expect my role to be as a playmaker. I expect myself to make plays that other people don’t,” said Bighill. “I put in the time to make the game slow down to me so me so I can jump certain situations and get the most out of what I’m doing out there.

“I want to be a guy who is doing the right things all the time and doing his job within the defence, but I also want to be making special plays that other people can’t.”

Another element that has added to Bighill’s comfort level is playing for an all-time great linebacker in head coach Mike O’Shea.

“It’s really unique,” Bighill said. “He sees everything I’m seeing in the same way I’m looking at it. He’s looking for the same subtleties that I’m looking for.”

Bighill was disappointed that his one year with the Saints, where he dressed for the just three regular-season games, didn’t include better opportunities after he had an outstanding training........