Michael Chris-Ike was a backup running back in college.

In four seasons at Delaware State, the Hamilton, Ont., product rushed 114 times for 486 yards and three touchdowns. As a senior, he saw just 14 carries for 94 carries on a Hornets team that went 1-10.

Those weren’t the numbers that made the Winnipeg Blue Bombers fall in love with the 6-1, 225-pounder — it’s the ones he had at the CFL Combine.

                                Michael Chris-Ike’s performance at the CFL combine was a major factor in the Bombers drafting him 14th overall.


Michael Chris-Ike’s performance at the CFL combine was a major factor in the Bombers drafting him 14th overall.

Chris-Ike tested off the charts with the fastest 40-yard dash (4.51 seconds), three-cone drill (6.71 seconds) and short shuttle (4.19 seconds). With his size and speed, the Bombers drafted him in the second round, 14th overall, to take a shot at developing him behind what is already an impressive Canadian backfield featuring Brady Oliveira and Johnny Augustine.

He could also be a strong candidate at fullback and an asset on special teams.

“It was probably just unfortunate circumstances last year with the number of carries he was going to get. It happens,” said head coach Mike O’Shea after Day 3 of training camp. “But I like when you hear the stories and you find out a guy knows he might not be as involved and he sticks it out and he finds other ways to help his team. Those kind of things carry a lot of weight in our minds… It’s the intangibles; the decisions he’s made that endear us to him, besides his physicality. He can do a lot of different things — it’s up to us to put him in those positions.”

The 25-year-old suited up in blue and gold for the first time Tuesday after attending rookie mini-camps with the NFL’s New York Jets and New Orleans Saints.

“It prepared me for what I’m coming into,” said Chris-Ike. “Before doing that I wouldn’t have had any idea of what training camp with a pro-level team would be like. But after doing that, I feel like it prepared me more for this now. But I have to catch up.”

The Bombers are strong at tailback already so he has time, but with Augustine turning 31 in July and playing on a one-year deal, Chris-Ike could be a future compliment to Oliveira.

“The goal is to be the best I can be and help the team win — whatever that can be, wherever I can show my value, that’s my goal,” said Chris-Ike.

O’Shea on gambling in the CFL

Veteran Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman Shawn Lemon is suspended indefinitely for betting on games, including one he played in.

Before the story came out in April, Lemon, 35, announced he was retiring. That appears to no longer be the case as he is appealing the suspension, which makes him elgible to practise and play until an arbitrator makes a decision.

The three-time Grey Cup champion was at Als training camp on Tuesday.

“The CFL is disappointed that the Players’ Association would challenge a decision so fundamental to the integrity of our league,” said CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie in a statement. “The league’s rules prohibiting CFL-related gambling in 2021 were made abundantly clear to all players at the time, yet Mr. Lemon knowingly ignored those rules.