Through with Blue?

JIM BENDER and KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

Changes must be made or there could be no Canada for the Blue Bombers next season.

Sophomore Winnipeg defensive end Tom Canada becomes a free agent this winter and he has already grown weary of losing.

Canada just finished his second straight CFL season of frustration.

"We just need to move towards a more positive direction," said Canada. "We need to win some football games. I want to be part of that but I don't know if I can handle another one of these seasons. It's tough on the soul. These seasons are hard on your life. It stresses ya out, man. It stresses everybody out."

Options open

But with the immediate futures of both head coach Jim Daley and GM Brendan Taman up in the air, Canada declined to define the improvements he deems necessary.

"I don't want to turn my back on Winnipeg but I just want to keep my options open," said Canada, who recorded nine sacks this year. "I want to say the right things. I'll just try to be patient, try to be smart. I don't necessarily want to commit to anything right now. I've got to think about what's right for me. I'm open-minded to all options. I love this city and I'd love to be back but we'll see what happens."

Canada, 25, is just one of a number of key players about to become free agents on Feb. 15, 2006. The others include punter Jon Ryan, kick returner/receiver Keith Stokes, receivers Jamie Stoddard, Gilles Colon and Darnell McDonald, linebackers Neil McKinlay and Ryland Wickman and fullback Wade Miller.

Ryan told local reporters long ago that he will listen to NFL offers.

LOOKING AROUND: Stokes, 26, was the 2004 CFL Most Outstanding Special Teams Player but is unlikely to even represent his own club this year.

"I would love to be back here, but in free agency, you never know what's gonna happen," said Stokes, who is currently fourth in kickoff and fifth in punt returns. "I'm sure other teams are going to offer, but I gotta figure out what's going to be best for me.

"This team here has a lot of talent. A couple changes here and there and we could be in the hunt with everybody else. So coming back here, with the talent we have, I wouldn't even think twice."

CANUCK CATCHERS: Stoddard, who was reduced to a part-time pass catcher for some reason this year, still caught 30 passes for 431 yards and two touchdowns.

"I'll take some time, sit on things for a while, relax and get away from football completely for a while," said Stoddard, 27. "Come the New Year, I'll start thinking about things and what's best for me personally and from a football standpoint -- and financially, obviously.

'Right pieces'

"A lot of it has to do with the organization, from the top down, and it has to do with the city and knowing people. Whatever team I end up with, I want to stay in that city."

Colon, 24, had 18 receptions for 232 yards and one TD while battling through injuries.

"We've got the right pieces next year, so I definitely want to be back here," he said.

NEXT ADVENTURE: LB Lamar McGriggs, who turns 38 in May, would love one more crack at it.

"I'm just looking forward to the next adventure for Lamar McGriggs," said the veteran, who is heading into his option year. "I'm pretty sure things will work out here. If not, I'm sure there are a lot of other teams that think No. 36 can still run and still keep doing the things he did when he first came into this league. I definitely want to play another year."

Free to go

Free agents in February:

* WR Gilles Colon

* SB Jamie Stoddard

* KR/SB Keith Stokes

* FB Wade Miller

* FB Cory Olynick

* OL Jermese Jones

* DE Tom Canada

* LB Neil McKinlay

* DB Cedric Dickerson

* P Jon Ryan

* S Ryan Folk

Free agents right now:

* LB Ryland Wickman

* WR Darnell McDonald

* DE Antwone Young


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