Bombers shocked by Matthews' timing

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

Just because Don Matthews has resigned as Montreal Alouettes head coach doesn't mean the rift with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will cease to exist.

"They have a talented team," Bombers GM Brendan Taman said yesterday of the Alouettes. "By their own admissions, they're one of the most talented teams they've had there in a long time."

Matthews' final game as Alouettes head coach occurred last Friday at Canad Inns Stadium. The Als ended a six-game losing streak with a 23-20 win.

Bombers head coach Doug Berry, who coached under Matthews in Montreal from 2002 to 2005, was shocked by yesterday's news as well as the timing of it. Berry was asked if Matthews appeared ill.

"Not to me, but what's five seconds of interaction I've had with him?" Berry said. "I'm not really the one to respond to that question."

Taman also raised an eyebrow at the timing of the mysterious move. He also wondered why the Alouettes said their relationship with Matthews was over, even if he gets healthy.

"I was shocked," Taman said.

"They just won, they just beat us, and they righted the ship, so to speak. I was very surprised. Hopefully the guy's OK. It's not life-threatening, so that's good."

Berry flipped the finger at Matthews near the end of their game July 15 at the Stadium, because he felt the Als were running up the score. Montreal scored a late touchdown to cap off a 44-16 victory.

GOOD THINGS

Yesterday, however, Berry had nothing but good things to say about the CFL's all-time winningest coach.

"He has brought exposure to the CFL, and mostly in a positive way," Berry said. "The CFL is going to miss him."

The question now is: How much are the Alouettes going to miss him?

It's quite possible that the Bombers and Alouettes will meet in the East Division playoffs, so Montreal's late-season change could very well affect the Blue and Gold.

The Alouettes are tied with Toronto for first in the East at 8-6, while the Bombers, who haven't clinched a post-season berth yet, are third at 7-8.

"I guess the proof will be in the pudding if it's good or bad for us, but quite frankly I don't really worry about Montreal until we play them in the playoffs, because we've gotta right our own ship," Taman said.

"I don't spend a lot of time wondering if that move is good or bad, but if you lose the winningest coach in CFL history, I don't know how that's going to be good."


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