Ignorance is bliss

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:11 AM ET

When Joe Fleming woke up yesterday morning, he was still a member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The defensive lineman sure would have been surprised if he wasn't.

"The first I heard about it was this morning out at practice," Fleming said. "We were taking snaps like most days, and (Troy) Westwood said, 'Did you hear you were going to B.C. before the trade deadline?'

"I didn't even know the trade deadline was yesterday."

Yes Joe, the CFL trade deadline was Wednesday at 10:59 p.m., and the Lions, whom your Bombers face tomorrow night at Vancouver's B.C. Place, had called to inquire about your services.

The Bombers, however, weren't about to get rid of one of their highest-paid and most-respected veterans after getting him from Calgary in the Khari Jones trade last September.

"It's hard, because being traded last year I heard so many rumours that it was gonna happen, and throughout the day it kept progressively evolving," Fleming said.

"I didn't hear about this, so I'm guessing there wasn't much to it. When I heard about it today, it kind of gave me a chuckle."

Fleming, 33, hasn't had much to laugh about this season thanks to injuries and the team's 5-11 record, but he doesn't want to be anywhere else.

"I want to win a Grey Cup here," he said. "This would be the best city to win a Grey Cup in. The way people care about football, the organization ... everything involved in football in Winnipeg is important. That means a lot to me."

Fleming has dealt with a variety of injuries this season. One of the afflictions was reportedly a torn biceps, but he won't talk about it until after the season.

In fact, he won't even talk about his injuries with his wife.

"If you're talking about it all the time and thinking about being hurt, then you're not helping the situation," he said.

Whatever ailments held Fleming back earlier in the season have either gone away or he's learned how to deal with them, because he's come on strong in the last month.

"For some reason, after each game in the last four or five we've said, 'That was Fleming's best game,'" Bombers head coach Jim Daley said. "He seems to be playing with a little bit more speed, which was limited for him early because of a little bit of an injury, and he seems to be back much more in form."

Team 'so close'

Fleming wants to still be around when the entire team gets back to form.

"I truly believe we're just so close right now to being a great team," he said. "There's four or five games this year in which the outcomes were extremely close and could have been a little bit different.

"With the continued effort that we have and making any improvements that we need to make, we're going to be that team next year that can compete for the Grey Cup."


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