Buratto cautious but interested in Bombers

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:00 AM ET

The "Big Burrito" may be the best candidate to become the next head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers but he is not about to leap right back into a boiling cauldron.

Nor has Calgary Stampeders offensive co-ordinator Steve Buratto been contacted yet.

"To be perfectly frank, I have nothing to accept," Buratto said from Calgary yesterday, just one day after the Stamps were eliminated from the CFL playoffs in the West Division semifinal.

But he would be willing to become a CFL head coach for the third time in his career "if the circumstances were right," he said. "When I was first a head coach here (1984-85), I went to bat with a broomstick and they wanted me to hit home runs. I'm not willing to go through that circumstance again and I don't know a whole lot about them."

But it sounds like he will soon find out.

"There's always a lot of work to be done," Buratto said. "But do you have the tools? That's the key. I know (club president/CEO) Lyle (Bauer) but not much about the structure there."

Buratto, 62, won the 2000 Grey Cup as head coach of the B.C. Lions and has been touted for his tutelage of both quarterback Henry Burris this season and B.C.'s Casey Printers last year. In fact, there is some speculation that Printers could follow Buratto to Winnipeg should he become a free agent this winter.

Will get permission

Winnipeg GM Brendan Taman will ask the Stamps for permission to officially contact both Buratto and defensive co-ordinator Denny Creehan later this week. Creehan is apparently destined to succeed Tom Higgins as head coach.

Taman will also ask the Saskatchewan Roughriders for permission to interview both defensive co-ordinator Richie Hall and offensive co-ordinator Marcel Bellefeuille.

And Hall, for one, would be willing to listen should that permission be granted.

"I heard that speculation some time last week," Hall said from Regina shortly after arriving from Montreal where the Alouettes eliminated the 'Riders in a crossover playoff. "I'm flattered by it but I haven't heard anything official yet.

"It surprised me because sometimes, you never really see yourself in that role (head coach). I'm humbled that they would even think of me."

And yes, Hall does want to become a head mentor one day.

Although Taman does not know Bellefeuille, he was apparently on Edmonton's short list before the Eskimos hired Danny Maciocia last year. Although the future of Saskatchewan's staff will be in doubt until the board of directors meet tomorrow night, the Regina Leader-Post reported yesterday that it would cost the club $700,000 in salary to fire both GM Roy Shivers and head coach Danny Barrett.

Meanwhile, ex-Bomber linebacker James West called Bauer about any coaching openings here, although the head coaching job is unlikely. Former Ottawa defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall called Taman to say he was interested. So did the agent for ex-Renegades head coach Joe Paopao.

Taman plans to start interviewing about a dozen candidates at the end of this week.


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