One stressful season

JUDY OWEN

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

There have been times this season when Blue Bombers general manager Brendan Taman didn't want to answer his phone or go out in public.

A 0-4 start and controversial trades had Bomber fans livid at the man whose job it was to put together a team that would make it back to the Grey Cup -- and win this time.

"Stressful," Taman said when asked to describe his season.

"This isn't a fun place to be the day after a loss. That phone is not a good sounding board for family people to hear -- (people saying), 'You're a (bleeping) idiot.'

"When we traded (Tom) Canada and (Charles) Roberts, those two days after those events were probably the heightened intensity, even more than after a loss."

While Canada ended up not being traded because of his health, the initial news of his trade to Hamilton for linebacker Zeke Moreno had Taman looking over his shoulder.

"I had a couple calls after Tom was traded that were really, really nasty," he said.

"I didn't really want to go outside after that just in case these people were around the building and knew who I was 'cause they weren't going to be too friendly towards me."

Then there was the time he met up with a guy in a Safeway parking lot who had a Saskatchewan Roughriders flag on his vehicle.

"He said, 'See this flag here, this is what a winning team is all about. You should learn how to run one,' " Taman said.

"I said, 'Gotcha. Thanks,' and just kept walking."

There was also the night he went to a restaurant and the waiter grilled him about the trades and rookie Alexis Serna replacing 17-year kicker Troy Westwood.

"I just wanted to eat a steak," Taman said.

But he doesn't blame fans for their anger, knowing scrutiny is part of a job that can also be fun.

"It is fun because people care, even when you lose you know they care," he said. "But people have to understand, as bad as they want to win, we want to win and I want to win. They're not talking to a person that doesn't care double what they do."

While he thinks the team did well with the trade of Roberts to B.C. for Joe Smith and the fact they got to keep Moreno and Canada, Serna's inconsistency makes the Westwood move remain a question mark.

"I don't know if the Troy thing worked," Taman admitted, adding cutting him was hard on a personal level.

"Was Troy the right guy for this team with the situation? No, he probably wasn't. But going through what we've gone through with kickers all year, in hindsight I just wish (Westwood) would have been better in exhibition and we wouldn't have had to talk to him.

"The jury's still out on that one going into the playoffs."

But, hey, at least the team is in the playoffs after such a tumultuous season.

"Hopefully it ends better than it starts," Taman said.

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BRENDAN TAMAN FACTS

Born: Dec. 12, 1966

Birthplace: Saskatoon, Sask.

Football experience: 22nd year in the CFL, 10th with the Bombers. Has also been involved with player personnel for Saskatchewan, Ottawa and B.C.

Football highlights: The Bombers' appearances in the 2007 and 2001 Grey Cup games.

On where the team is now: "The Edmonton game will be a pretty big stepping stone for our team -- one way or another -- whether we're going to take a step back. But I like to think that we're going to take a step forward and be right where we were last year -- one game away from going to the Grey Cup."


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