Being promoted from the practice roster to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ starting lineup has meant tailback Bloi-Dei Dorzon spending a lot of time explaining how to pronounce his unusual first name.
It rhymes with rowdy and is pronounced blau-dee. But the Bombers simply call him T, after his middle initial.
The son of Edwin and Patience Dorzon, who came to the United States from Liberia, Dorzon doesn’t know the origin of his first name.
“I get asked that every day,” he said. “I’ll make sure I get it for you next time.”
Signed as a free agent in 2011, Dorzon has seen action only in pre-season games. But the Bombers liked him enough to keep him on the practice roster after he was cut this season.
It proved to be a wise move when starting running back Chris Garrett went down in practice Tuesday with a season-ending torn Achilles tendon. Chad Simpson, who would normally step in, is still recovering from his own much less serious injury.
Dorzon will start his first CFL regular-season game Friday in Vancouver against the Grey Cup-champion B.C. Lions. The Bombers can’t say yet when Simpson might return and have also moved Calgary native Anthony Woodson into the backup tailback role for Friday’s game.
But patiently waiting for a chance to play football was easy for Dorzon compared to what he’s had to overcome in his life.
He has three brothers and five living sisters. He lost another sister, Watchee, in 2004. He said she was murdered and he has her name tattooed on his right arm.
“That’s the hardest thing in life, to lose my sister, she was my best friend,” he said. “If I can go through that, I can go through anything.”
Dorzon is just five foot eight but he’s a muscular 197 pounds. His biceps look almost as big around as his waist, yet he runs the 40-yard dash in less than 4.5 seconds.
“T’s an explosive powerful runner with a low centre of gravity and certainly can break tackles,” said head coach Paul LaPolice. “We’re excited about him getting the chance to play.
“Like I told the players two days ago, injuries happen, everybody in this room has got to be accountable to help us win a football game.”
A little shy at first and nervously playing with a football while he speaks, Dorzon proves eloquent enough when he opens up about what this chance means to him.
He more than hinted at that Tuesday night when he tweeted “Believe me when I say this, IM READY.”
“I tweeted that because I am,” he said. “I’ve been working hard every day in the off-season doing two-a-days, three-a-days, training my body to carry this weight, to get fast, to get stronger, to make my hands better.
“I’ve got my opportunity so I’m going to take advantage of it.”
The 27-year-old native of New Carrolton, Md., played at Lackawanna Junior College in Scranton, Pa., and spent two years at Jackson State in Mississippi.
He’s also had his own experience with season-ending injuries. At Jackson, he broke his ankle six games into the 2008 season but came back in 2009 by rushing for 478 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games.
“That time off, just not being able to be out there on the field, you know, made me really love football even more,” he said.
After the devoutly religious education major graduated, he earned a tryout with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans in 2010.
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