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All signs pointed to Winnipeg for Adarius Bowman after his release by the Eskimos

Blue Bombers GM Kyle Walters welcomes receiver Adarius Bowman back to Winnipeg. Walther Bernal / Global News

When the Edmonton Eskimos released Adarius Bowman in the off-season, the 10-year CFL vet said joining the Winnipeg Blue Bombers was an easy decision for him.

There were too many signs.

First was the level of interest the Bombers showed in him. Several teams were interested, but the Bombers seemed the most sincere.

READ MORE: Edmonton Eskimos release fan favourite Adarius Bowman; extend Vidal Hazelton

Another sign was Bowman’s familiarity with Winnipeg. He played two years for the Bombers in Winnipeg in 2009 and ’10 before he began a wonderful seven-year run with the Eskimos that saw him win his first Grey Cup.

Another sign.

That Grey Cup win in 2015 was in Winnipeg at Investors Group Field, a stadium he actually helped to build. In his first go ’round with the Bombers, Bowman was one of a group of players that put the first shovels in the ground at the start of construction.

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READ MORE: “Why not Winnipeg?” Adarius Bowman excited to be back with Blue Bombers

Another sign – his future teammates. Many of them were past teammates, like Weston Dressler and offensive coordinator Paul Lapolice from his Saskatchewan days, and Matt Nichols and Mike Miller from his time in Edmonton.

Bowman not only won a ring in Edmonton, but also led the team in receiving four times and he did not leave with any kind of a chip on his shoulder.

“No hard feelings at all. Edmonton was my home at one point and I think it still will be after my career,” said the 32-year-old from Chattanooga, TN.

“Edmonton was an amazing place. No bad feelings, it was totally business. Coach Maas, Brock Sunderland, those guys were great to me. My teammates – that hurts the most. I still live in Edmonton and was training with the guys, that was probably the most difficult thing. Mike came into town and was throwing and I had to remind myself, ‘you’re not my quarterback.'”

READ MORE: Meet the ‘Sparents’: Why a 200-pound slotback made his most valuable catch off the field

After returning from a very serious knee injury that cost him the final 16 games of 2012 and the first nine games of 2013, Bowman became easily the best and most dominant receiver in the CFL. In a 60-game span that started halfway through 2013 to the 2016 season, he averaged almost 90 yards a game.

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His goal is to get back to that level with the Bombers

“I am trying to get back to the top, that’s what I am striving for. I want to win a championship.”

In 2015, he won the Grey Cup with Edmonton in Winnipeg. Now he plays for Winnipeg and the Grey Cup game is in Edmonton. Do the math on that.

“That’s crazy.”

READ MORE: Edmonton Eskimos receiver Adarius Bowman nominated for Tom Pate Award

Bowman is still smiling and still catching footballs, but there has been some changes in his life over the last year. He has become a husband, a father and a Blue Bomber, but through it all he said his goals and his outlook on life stays the same.

“Different location, but same A.D.”

The Eskimos play the Blue Bombers in Winnipeg on Friday. Game time is 6:30 p.m., the countdown to Kickoff pre-game show starts at 5 p.m. on 630 CHED.

Watch below: In February 2018, Edmonton Eskimos vice-president of football operations and general manager Brock Sunderland spoke about the decision to release Adarius Bowman.

Click to play video '‘I am always going to root for’ Adarius Bowman' ‘I am always going to root for’ Adarius Bowman
‘I am always going to root for’ Adarius Bowman – Feb 5, 2018