Rambo, Chiaokhiao-Bowman trying to crack Alouettes' deep receiving corps

“Whatever you ask, I’m going to go out there and do.”

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ST-JÉRÔME — Anyone who has made it to the third, and final, week of training camp and survived the first exhibition game still has a shot of making the Alouettes.

But the defending Grey Cup champions are set at most positions, especially receiver, and it won’t be easy for either Charleston Rambo or Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman to crack the 45-man roster.

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“I’m a player that’s going to do anything to make the team, anything for my coaches,” said Rambo, who caught four passes for 71 yards last Saturday, against Toronto, including a 27 yarder in the fourth quarter that led to the team’s final touchdown in its 30-13 win. “Whatever you ask, I’m going to go out there and do. Make plays, I’ll do that. I’ll block for them. When I get out there I’m going to make plays, get my name be known.

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“Be me,” added the 6-foot-1, 177-pound import from Cedar Hill, Tex. “Hone in on the details. Make plays and try to put my best foot forward before any guy in front of me.”

Rambo comes to the Als with some impressive credentials, having played collegiately at Oklahoma — where he teamed with receiver CeeDee Lamb and was on the receiving end of passes thrown by Jalen Hurts — before transferring to Miami, his “dream school” where he hoped to capture a national championship. Instead, during his one season with the Hurricanes, Rambo caught 79 passes for 1,172 yards and scored seven touchdowns.

Signed by the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent in 2022, Rambo spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles, and quarterback Hurts, before being waived/injured and receiving an injury settlement.

Rambo, 24, will provide Montreal with some speed if he’s retained, although the Als are deep at the position, with returning veterans Tyler Snead, Cole Spieker, newcomer Tevin Jones and Canadians Tyson Philpot and Kaion Julien-Grant. Reggie White Jr., who missed all last season with a knee injury, is now sidelined with a rib cartilage injury.

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“Every day’s a learning experience for him,” head coach Jason Maas said of Rambo. “We’re putting in more and more of our offence every single day. He’s having to adjust to a playbook that’s unfamiliar to him and obviously the game’s different. But he’s competing every day. Everyone can see his athletic ability. That’s what you need to make our team. You need ability, effort and toughness. He’s been able to do that and stand out. But now you’ve got to finish (in a game). Finish camp in a strong way.

“We haven’t been shy in saying it’s hard to make our team. When you’re competing against guys that have shown that through their career with us, you have to come out and earn it. You have to earn a spot here. Forty-five guys are going to make our opening-day roster and, most likely, 10 will be on the practice roster. Those jobs are open. But it takes a special individual and talent to make our team. Everybody that’s here still has that chance.”

Chiaokhiao-Bowman caught six passes for 54 yards against the Argonauts. Backup quarterback Davis Alexander threw to him on two consecutive plays covering 30 yards in the third quarter, eventually leading to a field goal. If the Minneapolis native was on the bubble heading into the game, he did nothing to diminish his value.

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“You have to control what you can control,” Chiaokhiao-Bowman said. “It sounds cliché but, in my young 26 years, that’s something I’ve heard for a long time. Camp’s a time when you’re really getting to know the team, the plays, the culture, but also know yourself. Everybody deals with adversity during camp; I’m no exception to that.”

Following a collegiate career at Northwestern, Chiaokhiao-Bowman signed with the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2021 and comes to the Als after playing indoor football in Arizona.

“Coming from indoor, and being out there on that field — practice is one thing — having all that space, definitely was fun. Knocking some rust off and looking to make more plays coming soon.”

Receivers coach Mike Lionello said both players competed well against Toronto, not making the moment become too big. Both will have to make every play that comes their way Friday night, at Ottawa, to survive, he added.

“If they don’t, we’re going to go with the veteran guy we trust and know is reliable,” Lionello said. “But if you’re making all those plays that come your way, you’ve got a shot. Not everybody can do that. To unseat a veteran, that’s what you have to do.”

Meanwhile, the Als have released former Ohio State tailback Mike Weber Jr., who had a 23-yard run against Toronto but was battling injuries. That leaves Stevie Scott as the lone remaining import behind veteran Walter Fletcher.

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