Tearful goodbyes at McMahon

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

Saying goodbye to friends and teammates is a cryin' shame and the tears were flowing yesterday in the Stampeders locker-room.

"When I saw Marcus, I told him this: He's my quarterback," defensive lineman Joe Fleming said yesterday after clearing out his locker next to Marcus Crandell.

"He's the guy who I won a Grey Cup (in 2001) with. I was blessed to be a part of that team and he was the guy who was instrumental in that win and will always be the guy who got it done for us.

"That's tough. There are a lot of guys on the team I'm close with but saying goodbye to Marcus was the most emotional.

"There was a lot of emotion and I'll admit there were some tears in my eyes with certain guys I talked to, certain people I saw."

Fleming, safety Wes Lysack and fullback Scott Regimbald all offered goodbyes to teammates and coaches after yesterday's blockbuster trade with Winnipeg.

Defensive co-ordinator Denny Creehan agreed it was an emotional farewell.

"It really was, I mean, I ..." Creehan stuttered before welling up with tears.

"Obviously, Joe was a great guy to coach and have on our team. I'm going to miss him. Both of those guys, Wes and Joe, are great pros and I loved working with them and I'll miss them."

Fleming, 32, was a free agent after this season and wasn't expected to re-sign with the Stampeders.

Last season's CFL defensive player of the year said after overcoming the emotional shock of being traded away, he's excited about the opportunity to move from a fifth-place team to a squad poised to earn a playoff spot.

"They've been waiting a long time for another Grey Cup in Winnipeg. It would be electric and I would love to be a part of it," said Fleming, who was with the Bombers in 1998-99 before signing with Calgary in 2000.

"As much as I'm going to miss Calgary, miss the people ... I have to be a professional and go to Winnipeg and help them to achieve their goal, which is make to the playoffs, get to the Grey Cup and win football games."

Lysack, a native of Winnipeg, said he still hadn't come to grips with being traded from a city where he had begun putting down roots.

"I kept hearing rumours but I never thought it would happen," said the 26-year-old Lysack, who was drafted in the first round by the Stamps last year. He enters his option year next season.

"I was totally shocked. Couldn't believe it. I still am in shock, really. Everybody says I should be happy to be going back home but I didn't want to leave here at all ... I was so proud and happy with what our defence was doing and what we'd built as a defence.

"It was an honour and a pleasure to play for the Stampeders. I loved every minute of it and loved the fans."

Regimbald, a Montreal product, was in his fifth season with the Stamps and was expected to test free agency at the end of this season.

"I'm a little surprised," Regimbald, 28, said before piling into a vehicle with Fleming to make the two-day trek to Winnipeg.

"I knew about Joe and Lysack ... I wasn't looking forward to saying goodbye to those guys and then I found out I was going with them. Going with those guys makes it a lot easier."


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