'Sucked it up,' made key play

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

Juran Bolden struggled just to get his jacket on in the dressing room after yesterday's contest.

The Winnipeg cornerback's back was so sore trainer Al Couture attempted to keep him out of the last half of the semifinal versus the Montreal Alouettes after he aggravated his injury while making a tackle early in the third quarter.

"But I told him I'm playing as long as I've got shoulder pads and a helmet," Bolden said. "Then he took my helmet away from me. But he's looking out for the best interests for myself and my future and he knew I wanted to play. The coach wanted me to play and I told them not to take me out of the game."

The veteran admitted he was in so much pain he had tears in his eyes. He took some Tylenol and "sucked it up."

Although he convinced the coaches and trainer to allow him back in, Bolden switched sides with wide-side cornerback Robert Bean.

"The coaches knew my back was bothering me a lot and I was doing anything possible to stay in the game," Bolden said. "I just wanted to make sure I gave everything I had out there. He (defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall) thought it was beneficial that I go to the (wide) side to keep me in the game. I'm grateful that he did because I was able to make a play."

In the fourth quarter, Bolden made a diving interception of a Marcus Brady pass at the Montreal 27. That set up a 33-yard field goal by placekicker Troy Westwood that pulled Winnipeg to within 22-20 with 5:29 left.

"I just saw an opportunity to make a play," Bolden said. "I felt like we needed to make a play and I know that's what the guys expect me to do. I just read the route and I couldn't believe he's throwing it to the field and I was there. It was just the right place at the right time.

"I'm just grateful we won. Everybody played their ass off and I'm happy. I'm just going home, lay down and call my wife and talk to her all day long."

Although he was moving gingerly, Bolden vowed to be ready to play against the Argonauts in the CFL East Final in Toronto on Sunday.

"I'm going to play next week," said Bolden, 33. "I'm just going to get some rest on this back, then keep going. Rest is the best issue for it right now. I'll be ready come Sunday, regardless if it's outdoors or indoors.

"My back's pretty much tender right now but it's a good thing we've got a whole week to get ready again so a little more rest, I think I'll be ready to go again."

LATE HITS: Winnipeg won its first playoff game since 2002 ... Bombers tailback Charles Roberts had 20 carries for 107 yards ... Slotback Milt Stegall had four catches for 59 yards and a touchdown in what was possibly his last game in Winnipeg ... The crowd of 22,843 was Winnipeg's smallest of the season ... Montreal's Kerry Watkins led all receivers with five catches for 158 yards ... Alouettes quarterback Marcus Brady completed 17 of 28 passes for 299 yards, one touchdown and one interception.


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