The man in charge of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers coaching search has narrowed his list of candidates to three.
An announcement revealing the Blue and Gold's new leader could even be made as early as this week.
Bombers president and CEO Lyle Bauer returned from the Grey Cup in Montreal yesterday before turning around and heading off to parts unknown to continue his quest to find a new head coach and director of football operations.
"We've talked to everybody we're going to talk to," Bauer said last night from somewhere in the U.S. "At the very earliest (an announcement) would be very late this week and possibly into next week. You want to make sure everything is right. These things don't just come together overnight."
Bauer plans to head to Utah on Thursday to spend U.S. Thanksgiving with his wife, although he hinted that he might have even started negotiations with the man he wants to replace the fired Doug Berry. The leading candidate is Edmonton Eskimos receivers coach Mike Kelly, but he's not talking.
"I'm laying low," Kelly said in an e-mail last night. "Right now it is just better if I shut up."
When asked if he had started talking contract with someone, Bauer replied coyly, "I don't know," before adding, "There's a rash of things that have to be all bundled up and tied together before anything can get done or finalized."
Another finalist is likely Bombers defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall, who was interviewed last Friday in Montreal -- the same day Kelly and Bauer had their official chat. When Bauer was asked if he had spoken to someone from either the Calgary Stampeders or Montreal Alouettes after the Grey Cup, he said, "I don't know. Maybe."
What Bauer would say was that he was suitably impressed by the coaching performances of both Calgary's John Hufnagel and Montreal's Marc Trestman.
"You watch those two coaches, and the way that they manage their team -- the way they manage their coaching staff -- there's an edge that both those guys have, which has value," Bauer said. "There's an edge that both of them have that transcends into their locker-room and also to their coaching staff that pays dividends. It's very good.
"They bring something special and unique, and quite frankly they have the ability to elevate it to another level. That's an edge."
And that's the kind of man Bauer is seeking.
Bauer confirmed that he has not spoken to Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive co-ordinator Richie Hall nor Bombers defensive line coach Richard Harris.