Stegall deserves better

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:17 PM ET

It was perhaps fitting that Milt Stegall would have an awe-inspiring, record-setting game on the same night his Winnipeg Blue Bombers were getting their rear ends handed to them by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Last Sunday's Labour Pain Classic in the Gap was like a microcosm of Stegall's stellar football career.

Never in his life has Stegall won a championship, despite being one of the best players of his era. Even though he has the skill of an artist and the heart of a mountain climber, Stegall simply can't buy a champion's ring.

He's one of the greatest receivers ever to play the Canadian game and the numbers back that up. He became the all-time leader in touchdown receptions last week with his first major and topped off his brilliant night by making a spectacular catch off a broken play in the end zone.

But he left the field unhappy, furious about the fact that the Bombers got pummeled, lamenting the realization that they are mired in last place. He had no interest in talking about his career achievements or his stunning game.

It's clear he wants to win, with every fibre of his being ... before it's too late.

But, at 35, Stegall seems well on his way to becoming the latest best-player-to-never-win-a-major.

Unless he gets a trade to B.C. - stat.

RETIRE THIS: There's nothing more annoying in sports than an athlete "retiring" amid glorious accolades only to make a "comeback" a month later. Every story about Lance Armstrong (who is obviously getting career advice from Roger Clemens) these days suggests he will end his retirement and return to the Tour de France in 2006. Isn't that incredible? I mean, how can he still be in shape after all this time? Won't his arms and legs have atrophied in the six weeks since he called it a career?

Fine, Lance. Return to the Tour instead of riding off into the sunset. Stick it to the nasty French and their muck-raking newspapers by winning the big race for the zillionth time in a row. But please, don't ever suggest you were retired or that you're making a comeback. Six weeks? Tiger Woods takes more time off between tournaments than that. This barely counts as a vacation.

TONE IT DOWN: How bad has the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defence been in the last two games? It couldn't stop Wade Miller ... While listening to Rod Black's overzealous call of the Day-Before-Labour-Day-Classic, it occurred to us that the current CBC broadcasters are doing a bang-up job ... Why do these play-by-play types think they have to yell all the time? Haven't they ever listened to Al Michaels, or Pat Summerall or Joe Buck? ... Speaking of play-by-play, Sportsnet has been showing L.A. Dodgers games this week, but who needs the picture? When you've got Vin Scully calling the game, the baseball is secondary ... Baseball got another black eye this week when it suspended Seattle rookie Michael Morse for 10 games for a positive steroid test. Morse tested positive in May. He took it like a man, actually admitted taking the drugs in early 2003 and said they are still in his system, and started serving his suspension immediately. Since he's already been suspended twice in the minors for the same offence, it seems almost unfair that he's getting banned a third time, but that's beside the point. What seems most crazy is the fact that Major League Baseball has players testing positive in May and is waiting until the middle of the pennant race to do anything about it. Morse, guilty or unjustly punished, has been a pretty good player this year and the night before his suspension started he had the game-winning single in a victory over the playoff-contending Oakland A's. Baseball is letting known juiced-up players impact the game at the most important time of the year and that has to stop.

LAST WORDS: Why is it that when he plays the Bombers, Marcus Crandell always looks like the second coming of Warren Moon and when he plays everybody else he reminds us more of T.J. Rubley? ... Reports were everywhere that the NFL's all-time greatest receiver was retiring this week, but never fear, Andre Rison called and said it wasn't true ... Glad to hear Barry Bonds kept up his usual regimen while he was injured. Even when he wasn't playing he still managed to get in a fight with a teammate in the locker-room ... Plans are in the works for a new reality TV show. It features Ottawa Roughriders owner Lonie Glieberman and ex-New York Giants quarterback Jesse Palmer. It's tentatively called Courting The Bachelor.


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