Pending free-agent kicker Justin Medlock weighing all his options after Blue Bombers loss
Kicker Justin Medlock said retirement is one option he’ll consider now that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers‘ season is over.
Another surprise as the players cleaned out their lockers Monday was quarterback Matt Nichols revealing the injured ring finger on his throwing hand was actually broken.
Medlock, a pending free agent, made all three of his field-goal attempts in Sunday’s 39-32 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL West Division semifinal.
“I want to take a second to kind of think about what I want to do, whether I want to play, whether I want to play somewhere else, whether I want to play here,” Medlock said.
Moving on after seven CFL seasons and time in the NFL is one option for the Florida resident, who was a key free-agent signing by Winnipeg last year.
“Been thinking about doing some other things in life, maybe, so we’ll see,” Medlock said. “But I’m also considering coming back, too. I love playing here.”
He added he wasn’t fully happy with his season, which included three game-winning field goals. He also had one outing where he missed all three tries and another when he was 2-of-4 and went wide on a 39-yard potential game-winner against Toronto.
Going into the season, Medlock was the most accurate kicker in CFL history. He finished with a league-high 226 points, but his 80.0 field-goal percentage (56-of-70) was last among eight qualifying kickers and his punting average of 43.7 yards was tied for eighth with Calgary’s Rob Maver.
However, Medlock’s net punting average of 35.2 yards was third after Ottawa’s Brett Maher (36.2) and Maver’s 35.6.
Medlock is one of an estimated 17 or more pending free agents that include well-known players such as receiver Weston Dressler, defensive lineman Jamaal Westerman, offensive linemen Stanley Bryant and Travis Bond and defensive stars Maurice Leggett and Chris Randle.
The good news is that list doesn’t include Nichols, whose leadership and drive helped the team finish the regular season with a 12-6 record. It was the most wins since 2002 and Sunday’s game was the first home playoff match since 2011.
Nichols said although his ring finger was broken in a game against Hamilton Oct. 6, it was only painful and didn’t affect his throws like a busted finger closer to his thumb might have.
He described an injury to his left leg as a strained calf from an Oct. 21 game against Toronto he initially thought was a lingering severe cramp. It was injured earlier in an Oct. 28 loss to B.C.
Nichols repeated his post-game comments that he didn’t think the calf limited him against Edmonton because he wasn’t flushed out of the pocket and forced to run.
His focus Monday was talking to all his teammates before the tight-knit group disbanded. He said he will be in touch with the free agents.
“I’ll definitely be a salesman and try and keep everyone here,” Nichols said.
“I feel like we have a really good thing going here. I felt like we took a big stride from last season.”
Winnipeg finished 11-7 last year and lost to B.C. in the West semifinal when Medlock was sent out to attempt a late 61-yard field goal that fell short.
The team only won two of its last five games this season and was hit by late-season injuries to Westerman, Leggett and top receiver Darvin Adams.
It was suspected Dressler was playing with a hand injury, but he refused to discuss the topic. The 10-year veteran wants to continue his career, and hopes that’s in Winnipeg with a group of players he says has a special bond.
Edmonton’s victory included a pair of touchdowns after two of Winnipeg’s three turnovers. The Bombers gave up the ball on downs following a failed fake punt and another after Dressler fumbled. He won’t forget that for a while.
“Those are just kind of the what-ifs that tend to haunt you as a player after a loss,” Dressler said.
© 2017 The Canadian Press