The Don deflects rumours with key quip

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:13 PM ET

The first words he offered at his own press conference yesterday related to his immediate future as the Montreal head coach.

"I tried my key in the door this morning and it still works," Don Matthews joked. "I'm still here.

"I had a long talk last night with Mr. (Robert) Wetenhall (Alouettes owner) and found that our lives are very interesting."

Earlier this week, the Montreal Gazette reported that Matthews could lose his job if he loses to Winnipeg today and that Calgary GM Jim Barker had already been contacted about possible interest in assuming the reins. However, those in charge of the Als have refuted the story, which included Matthews possibly retiring at the end of this season.

"When I want to talk about my situation, I'll talk to friends," Matthews, the winningest coach in CFL history, told Montreal reporters Friday.

MORE HURTS: The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were forced to make a last-minute change when linebacker Ike Charlton came up lame Friday. Charlton was unable to make the trip for today's game against the Alouettes and will be replaced on the roster by defensive back Jazzmen Williams. However, only DB Stanford Samuels has played Charlton's position this season and he also stayed home to nurse an injury.

The other option was LB Ron Ockimey, but he also got hurt during practice on Friday.

That has forced the Bombers to start DB Kelly Malveaux at Charlton's outside linebacker position today. Malveaux spent most of Friday furiously going over film to learn all he could about his new role.

Robert Bean will likely replace Malveaux at halfback, with Gabriel Fulbright taking over for Bean at cornerback.

MENDING A FENCE: Bombers head coach Doug Berry, by the way, apparently smoothed things over with Montreal LB Duane Butler who had taken umbrage with the way Berry reacted when he attempted to shake his hand after the 44-16 loss to the Als.

"I talked to him since," Butler said. "He just kind of let me know where he was coming from, which was cool. When you're emotional and heated like that, things might come out wrong. So we got it on the table and kind of left it like that."

NEW GUY: Recently-arrived WR Derick Armstrong makes his debut in a Bombers uniform today.

"I feel pretty good," he said. "But, at the same time, a little nervous because I haven't played in awhile. But once I get out there, I will feel very comfortable."

Berry figures Armstrong knows the system well enough to be a threat.

EMBARRASSED: The Montreal O-line is still stinging from surrendering 12 sacks to B.C. last week.

"It's not something that happens very often here in Montreal," said veteran centre Bryan Chiu. "We pride ourselves on being a very good offensive line and we know that this has been the strength for the last 10 years here. It's uncharacteristic and it's unacceptable."

We understand that and we put the pressure on ourselves to play better ... There's no excuses, B.C. outplayed us."

Veteran tackle Uzooma Okeke has apparently been benched for today's match, although that was not one of the changes announced yesterday.


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