Roach joins list of candidates

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:44 AM ET

Scratch another name off the list of assistant coaching candidates to join the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

And add another possibility.

Although the Calgary Stampeders have hired Steve Buratto, who had been courted by Bomber head coach Jim Daley, as their offensive co-ordinator, they freed up defensive coach Mike Roach at the same time.

"I heard from Jim but it was nothing about (hiring me)," Roach said from Calgary yesterday. "We're friends and he gave me a call when he heard about (Roach's release from the Stamps)."

Roach also talked to Daley around Christmas.

"But I'm like Col. Klinck, I know nothing," said Roach, a former Bomber assistant coach. "I did enjoy my time there and the people in Winnipeg like their football. Are they talking about ownership changes or anything like that there?"

Roach was with the Bombers from 1994 to 1997, the year he became Winnipeg's defensive co-ordinator. He has also coached both the secondary and linebackers. The Rapid City, S.D., native was an Edmonton assistant when the Eskimos won the 1987 Grey Cup.

Roach and Daley were assistants in Ottawa in the early '90s and they walked out together when the Gliebermans, who owned the Rough Riders at the time, insisted they start an over-the-hill ex-NFL defensive lineman Dexter Manley. Roach and Daley were also in Calgary together when the Stamps beat the Bombers in the 2001 Grey Cup.

But for now, Roach needs some time to get over his termination.

"I've been at this so long that you do learn to deal with it," he said. "But you don't get used to it. You've just got to sit down, get your thoughts together and start making your calls."

Roach had yet to hear from any other CFL teams.

Daley has remained tight-lipped on who he has interviewed but plans to unveil his staff after the Shrine Bowl in two weeks.

Calgary offensive line coach Carl Brennan was also released but it is not known whether Donn Smith, Winnipeg's O-line mentor last year, will return.

Ron Lancaster Jr., Winnipeg's offensive co-ordinator last season, is expected to get hired in Edmonton. Lancaster could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Although former Stamp head coach/GM/offensive co-ordinator Matt Dunigan is now free, it is believed that he will re-join TSN on CFL broadcasts. Other new Bomber coaching candidates include Dave Easley and Scott Fawcett.

NOTES: Rogers Sportsnet reported on its website that Mike (Pinball) Clemons will receive a raise up to $400,000 annually (roughly double what he made last year) from the Toronto Argos. Sportsnet also reported that quarterback Damon Allen, the Grey Cup MVP, has been offered a two-year deal worth $250,000 annually, a raise of $100,000.


Photos