Banjo comments aside, Troy Westwood has been relatively quiet off the football field for the past three years.
It was just more than three years ago when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers placekicker missed three of four field goals in a 27-19 loss to the Calgary Stampeders in the 89th Grey Cup.
The Bombers head coach at the time, Dave Ritchie, not-so-subtly suggested that Westwood had a few too many balls in the air. The Selkirk product was boxing, he owned a couple of race cars, he was tap dancing and he was in a band called Eagle and Hawk.
The only noise Westwood has made since that forgettable Grey Cup -- aside from showing his love for Saskatchewan -- has been on the field. The boxing gloves have been put away, the tap shoes are gathering dust, his race car involvement has abated and he is no longer with Eagle and Hawk.
RELEASING SOLO ALBUM
That doesn't, however, mean that music is no longer a part of his life. In fact, Westwood will release a solo album next month -- under his first aboriginal name of Little Hawk -- called 1492-1975.
The 14-track CD is essentially one long story about the exploitation and abuse of North American natives since Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492.
Westwood isn't sure if he has aboriginal blood in him, but he doesn't care, either.
"For whatever reason, ever since I was a little kid, I've always had a very strong attraction to the culture of the First Nations people," Westwood said yesterday from his Toronto home. "Now it's become a part of my life day in and day out."
If Bomber fans are worried that Westwood might pull a Ron Artest and ask for time off to promote his album, or that his coach or general manager will pull a Ritchie and tell him to concentrate solely on football, it's not going to happen.
"Me reading books and writing poetry and singing songs is in no way detrimental to my performance on any practice day or on any game day," Westwood said. "And anyone who thinks anything other than that is out of their mind, basically.
"Every single guy on the team has things that they do in their spare time. Mine is music, and it will be until I stop breathing."
Bombers GM Brendan Taman is happy to see Westwood embarking on such an ambitious project.
"Troy's a pro and he knows he gets paid by us to kick the football," Taman said. "So I don't think a CD making should interfere with that.
"It's good, actually, that he shows some kind of life outside of football. He's got a talent, so it's good. Thumbs up from me."
Westwood often went to fellow artist and teammate Khari Jones to talk about his project (which he started in 2000), but some of his other teammates weren't as understanding.
"The barbarians on the team, like Wade Miller and Brian Clark, they would just sneer and giggle as I was writing my poetry on the plane to road games," Westwood said.
Even though Jones is gone, Westwood still has support in the form of offensive lineman Matt Sheridan, who noted that most of the Bombers have businesses and projects on the side.
Making an album is no different.
"He still manages to find time to do music and satisfy that part of his soul and his spirit," Sheridan said. "Good for him."