The waiting game begins again for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and their fans
Less than 24 hours after suffering a season ending 22-14 loss to the Calgary Stampeders in the Western Division Final, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers gathered at Investors Group Field on Monday for what is known as “garbage bag day” to clean out their lockers and answer questions about not fulfilling their goal of winning a Grey Cup, as well as what’s next.
Middle linebacker Adam Bighill had a phenomenal season and is the West Division finalist for the CFL’s Outstanding Defensive Player Award.
And while he enjoyed his first experience as a Winnipeg Blue Bomber, Bighill said his family is his number one consideration when he becomes a free agent in February.
“Obviously my wife’s family is from Vancouver, we had a home in Vancouver,” he told reporters. “Just gotta make the right decision for them.
“Obviously it has to fit for a line with me professionally. But you always gotta look after your family in all ways,” Bighill said.
WATCH: Raw Adam Bighill Interview
Second-year linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox told reporters he suffered a fractured bone in his foot in the regular season finale at Edmonton and was delaying a decision on whether to have surgery, in the event the Blue Bombers advanced to the Grey Cup.
Like many players in the Canadian Football League, Santos-Knox will also become a free agent in February, but indicated he’d love to stay here.
“Winnipeg gave me my first opportunity to play professional football,” said the Watertown, Connecticut native, “so I want to do everything in my power to stay here.”
“I don’t really know the process and how it works so I’m talking to veterans and stuff like that — and just take it step by step and see how this thing goes.”
Slotback Weston Dressler sat out almost a third of the games during his past three seasons as a Winnipeg Blue Bomber, including five in 2018.
But the 33-year-old went a little bit on the defensive when asked if spending as much time as he did on the injured list would factor in his future decision making.
“I had one injury this season,” said Dressler who spends his off-seasons in Regina.
“I don’t take that into consideration when it comes to the future and making those kinds of decisions. I’ll always want to play football. That’s not the question. Most of the time it’s not up to the player to make those decisions. hopefully there’s enough people that want me to be a part of a team.”
“The job’s not done”
Veterans like kicker Justin Medlock and defensive back Chris Randle definitely want to be back.
Randle said he’s fully committed to returning to the Blue Bombers because “the job’s not done yet.”
And Medlock said he’s “all in” and even spoke to his wife about that on Monday.
“I think you have to be. If you’re kinda 50-50, you see the results that kinda happened in 2017 to me weren’t to my level and I think I was kinda 50-50 that whole year,” said Medlock.
“I’m 100 per cent committed and ready to go. I feel better and my game just feels like it’s getting better.”
Medlock booted a CFL playoff record 57-yard field goal in Sunday’s loss to open the scoring and was good on 89.4 per cent of his field goal attempts this past season compared to 80 per cent the year before.
Quarterback Matt Nichols is one of the few players who is signed for 2019 and he’s hopeful most of the team will be back to take another run at ending Winnipeg’s Grey Cup drought, which now stands at 28 years.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty. The best thing about it all is with the kinda culture we’ve built around here and that Coach O’Shea has built around here- that makes it a place where the guys want to be,” said Nichols.
“So whenever the CBA and that stuff gets finalized, I know that core group that has been here for the last few years, and been getting better and better every year and closer and closer.”
“I think those guys want to be a part of what we have going here. So I’m fully confident most of this team will look the same as it was this year.”
Head coach Mike O’Shea is confident his team is on the right track.
“I think we’ve given the fans over the last few years something they can be proud of on the field, and given them some excitement,” O’Shea said. “I know for a lot of fans, that isn’t enough.”
“We’re trying our damnedest to end this (drought)”
WATCH: Raw Mike O’Shea Media Conference
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.