Heroes' welcome for BombersBiggest cheer reserved for DT Brown
By JIM BENDER, QMI Agency
|Fans and media greet Blue Bombers defensive tackle Doug Brown as the club arrives back in Winnipeg after losing the CFL's 99th Grey Cup game to the Lions in Vancover. (CHRIS PROCAYLO/QMI Agency)
WINNIPEG - About 200 strong greeted the Blue Bombers at the Winnipeg airport, cheering each of the downtrodden Grey Cup losers with cheers Monday afternoon.
Veteran defensive tackle Doug Brown not only got the biggest cheer but the crowd erupted spontaneously with, “One more year! One more year!”
But, like the legendary Milt Stegall before him, Brown will finish his illustrious CFL career without getting his named engraved on Lord Grey’s mug.
“The Cup is going to come back here sooner or later and as an individual, it’s selfish but you’re disappointed that you won’t be a part of it,” Brown said. “But, for the fan base that deserves a trophy — that’s the most important thing — I think that these are the guys that are going to deliver it to them.”
One fan delivered a hand-made replica of the Grey Cup to Brown.
“It’s overwhelming that the people came out and did things for us,” said Brown, 37. “It’s a conflicting situation because we know that they deserve more and we weren’t able to deliver it to them … That’s why it’s such a special place to play here, that they’re so proud of us and we just wish we had a real Cup to bring to them.
“These are the people that set records for us this year in terms of stadium attendance and the support that we had in 2011, and we just wish we could have paid them back with our performance on the field.”
Brown will leave with regrets that he could not help end a Grey Cup drought that has now extended to 21 years.
“It just makes it hard because these people are so deserving of having a championship and it’s been far too long,” he said emotionally. “It’s very conflicting when you come down here and see how great our fans are and you don’t have anything to share with them.”
FANS OVERWHELMING: The boisterous fans came carrying signs, wearing Bombers’ colours and requesting autographs, and the Bombers were overwhelmed with the fans’ response.
“It brings tears to the eyes that they care so much,” head coach Paul LaPolice said. “We really tried to bring a Grey Cup to this community and it’s frustrating when you don’t.”
EYE SCARE: Defensive lineman Bryant Turner suffered a serious eye injury during the first half of the Grey Cup game. His eye was cut after he got poked by an opposing player and he will be monitored by doctors this week, La Police said.
BRIGHT FUTURE: Despite the loss, the Bombers remain encouraged by rebounding from a 4-14 season to make it to the Grey Cup.
“Oh yeah, we’re a young group and that extra year of experience really factored into the team that we were,” veteran cornerback Jovon Johnson said. “Hopefully, we’ll look forward to a future where we can keep everybody and keep building on that chemistry.”
They have already set the bar higher.
“Right now, we’re not real happy with the results so hopefully, we can teach our players that we need to set the bar this high and being in the Grey Cup is a regular thing, not a sometimes thing,” LaPolice said.