'We need to talk'

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Without another game to prepare for this year, Edmonton Eskimos' receivers coach Mike Kelly is starting to shed more light on the rumours suggesting he's the overwhelming favourite to be named the new head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Kelly admitted yesterday -- about one hour after the Eskimos finished their season with a 36-26 loss to Montreal in the East Division final -- that he has not been offered the vacant head coaching job.

But he will likely speak to Winnipeg Blue Bombers president and CEO Lyle Bauer rather soon.

"Lyle and I need to talk," said Kelly. "Probably this week and I will let you know then."

Kelly is close friends with Bauer and has never denied he's a candidate for a job that became available after Doug Berry was fired Wednesday.

An offensive co-ordinator in Winnipeg from 1992-96, the city has a soft spot in Kelly's heart.

It's where he lived the longest stretch of his life without moving.

'OLD FRIENDS'

"Lyle and I are old friends. We have talked on a regular basis. I did go to breakfast with him the last time we were in Winnipeg," Kelly said.

"And we talked about life and family and all those kind of things. We will see what happens over the next seven to 10 days."

Kelly was last in Winnipeg before the Bombers East Division semifinal loss to the Eskimos. Berry was fired four days after that game.

If Kelly is named the new head coach -- and possibly GM -- in Winnipeg, he left the Eskimos last night in Montreal with kind words.

"I haven't been offered a contract extension. So I am guess I am free on the market," he said. "I certainly have enjoyed this. I have tremendous respect for the Edmonton Eskimos organization and how I was treated.

"I just finished coaching maybe the greatest collective group of guys I have been with."


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