Bruce talking big game

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:26 AM ET

These are the situations Arland Bruce claims to live for, and he isn't shy about telling you why.

"I'm not going to say get the popcorn ready," Bruce said mimicking a boast once made by his friend, Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens, "but you had better be watching.

"This is going to be serious. This will be like the Grey Cup extravaganza preview."

Bruce is talking (and talking), of course, about Sunday's CFL East final against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at the Rogers Centre. A big-play receiver, few love the big stage more than the fourth-year Argo.

But his most recent trip to the doorstep of the Grey Cup is one the former Bomber would rather forget ever happened.

It came a year ago in Montreal, a 33-24 Argos loss in which Bruce and defensive captain Mike O'Shea nearly came to blows on the field.

If that wasn't bad enough, Bruce went on a bizarre post-game rant in which he accused officials of being racist and having it in for coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons.

Buoyed by the Argos' seven-game win streak and his own equalling of a career-high 171 receiving yards in the team's season-ending win against Saskatchewan, Bruce now can dig up a positive from the ugly end to the '06 season.

"I remember more the misunderstanding we had during the game as a family, as a team," Bruce said. "Myself and O'Shea, that's all behind us. A lot of things went against us that game. I'm not pointing at no coaches or referees, just a lot of ifs and coulda's, shoulda's.

"The thing is, I think that brought us closer together to help get us to where we are right now."

It has been, at times, an awkward season for Bruce and the Argos offence as a whole. He missed a handful of games with a shoulder injury and the book on him is that he doesn't always run his routes exactly as they are drawn up.

"With the injuries, with a new offensive co-ordinator and starting off 2-6, there's been a lot of stuff we had to brush off," said Bruce, who has scored seven TDs in 13 games. "But we've moved on."

A big reason for that, Bruce believes, is the emergence of Michael Bishop at quarterback. It was Bruce who helped get that ball rolling in last year's East semi-final when Bishop came on in relief of struggling Damon Allen.

On his first play, Bishop and Bruce connected on a 77-yard touchdown pass, spurring a dramatic comeback win over the Bombers and the movement to make Bishop the team's future starter was on.

"He is 11-1. The sky is the limit, man," Bruce said. "All we can do is keep backing him up. I don't think we've even seen his best game and that's the scary part.

"I don't think you've seen the offence's best game yet either. It will be a great thing for the whole country to see it on Sunday. If you see who we have in the backfield, see who we have at quarterback, why wouldn't you want to watch that?"

ROB.LONGLEY@SUNMEDIA.CA

"YOU HAD BETTER BE WATCHING."

ARGOS' ARLAND BRUCE


Videos

Photos