One crazy year

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:07 AM ET

The insanity continues beyond the season.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers traded their all-time leading rusher, Charles Roberts, attempted to deal injured defensive end Tom Canada -- among other things -- and have now fired head coach Doug Berry.

"It's crazy, man," Bomber defensive end Gavin Walls responded yesterday. "It's been a crazy year with players, coaches, etc. This is the first year since I've been here that fan favourites got traded -- Charles Roberts, Tom Canada. Now, coach Berry so, it's crazy."

Although Walls complained about a lack of chemistry the past season, he did not blame Berry.

"But I'm really not surprised because I've seen a couple of guys get traded earlier," he said. "People don't stop right there. People are still getting beheaded and I'm sure there's going to be other moves by the end of the year.

"The biggest thing we could have done was to win the Grey Cup this year and that would have taken a lot of pressure off people. But we couldn't get that done. Now, people are pointing fingers and you have to answer to the big dogs."

Bomber defensive tackle Doug Brown felt bad for Berry.

"You feel for your head coach, but you understand at the same time everybody's kind of watching their own backs in a precarious time like this," he said. "It's always a shock and a surprise when you see where the axe falls. But, at the same time, I'm not surprised that a move of this nature -- this big -- was made. In the eight years I've been associated with this franchise, they've never stood pat on losing, or our direction not being headed the right way ...

"I just want to see this franchise win and shake this Cup drought. It's ridiculous with how many Cups this team's won and the fact we haven't had one in 18 years. My welcome mat is sitting at the door for anyone that can take us to the Promised Land. Especially those who can do it before my career ends."

None of the Bombers interviewed felt that Berry had lost the players' respect.

"I don't think he lost the players' confidence," said fullback Graeme Bell, who had suspected some assistants might change. "He was always very motivational. He did bring the best out of us as individuals and as players."

Bomber quarterback Kevin Glenn first heard the news while he was driving home to Detroit yesterday.

"I'm surprised," he said. "Everybody has reasons for doing things so, we'll have to wait and see. In this profession, things happen."


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