Armstrong will be back

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:13 AM ET

It was just three words, but they'll be music to the ears of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and their fans.

"I'll be back," receiver Derick Armstrong said yesterday, as he and his teammates cleared out their lockers and prepared to go their separate ways. "You can write it down. Armstrong will be back next year."

The Bombers' most impressive in-season acquisition, Armstrong came to Winnipeg in September, after being released following three seasons in the NFL.

His contract -- he'll be entering his option year in 2007 -- allows him to take another crack at the NFL during the winter.

But Armstrong says the sting of Sunday's loss to Toronto in the East semifinal convinced him to come back and try to get it right next year.

"It hurt that bad," he said. "Next year will be a little better, a little sweeter. We're going to come out and just try to win this thing."

In just five regular-season games, Armstrong became quarterback Kevin Glenn's favourite target, hauling in 25 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns.

He also led Winnipeg with five receptions for 77 yards on Sunday.

Bomber GM Brendan Taman says Armstrong is the team's most likely candidate to land work in the NFL.

But with all his success here, Armstrong says this will be his football home for at least another year.

Besides, he doesn't want to go through the whole NFL rejection thing again.

"I just love playing football," the 27-year-old said. "And I love making plays. This team has given me the opportunity to make plays. And I've just been taking advantage of it. And just having fun being with that old guy."

The "old guy" Armstrong refers to is Milt Stegall, who is considering retirement.

Stegall won't retire if Armstrong has anything to say about it.

"I'm trying to get him back," Armstrong said. "I need him. And he knows that. I talked to him yesterday about it. The chances are, I would say 60%."


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