'Great fit' for Bombers

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:00 AM ET

Dan Goodspeed wouldn't mind one bit if Mike Kelly is introduced as the new head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers this week.

The two have a little history that dates back seven years to the renegade league known as the XFL.

Kelly, who spent this past season as the Edmonton Eskimos receivers coach, was the offensive co-ordinator for the XFL's Orlando Rage in 2001. Goodspeed was one of the team's tackles.

And if Orlando starting quarterback Jeff Brohm hadn't gotten hurt, both Kelly and Goodspeed might be brandishing the only championship rings from Vince McMahon's short-lived league.

"I love playing for him, and I would love the opportunity to play for him again next year," Goodspeed said yesterday from his Florida home. "I'm not saying that's different from any other coach, but just knowing who he is, he's a good coach.

"If he comes to Winnipeg, he'll be a great fit. I would love the opportunity to play again for him. I have that much respect for him."

Winnipeg Football Club president and CEO Lyle Bauer was back in Winnipeg last night after spending American Thanksgiving in Utah, and he said an announcement will be made sometime in the "next few days."

Bauer wasn't dishing out much more information last night. He refused to say whether or not a contract has been finalized with the winning candidate.

"If the discussions were over, then I guess we'd probably be moving forward," Bauer said. "It's fair enough to say things aren't quite there yet."

It's believed the press conference will occur tomorrow, and there is nothing to suggest the man stepping to the podium won't be Kelly, who served as the Bombers' offensive co-ordinator between 1992 and 1996 and is good friends with Bauer.

Kelly, who normally responds to text messages from The Sun by saying he can't say anything, didn't answer an interview request yesterday.

KEPT IN CONTACT

Goodspeed isn't the only current Bomber who knows Kelly from their Rage days, as defensive back Kelly Malveaux was a member of the team's secondary. Goodspeed said he and Malveaux both thought enough of their former coach -- seven years later -- to catch up with him after games against Edmonton this season.

"I've kept in contact with him ever since the XFL days," Goodspeed said. "He's just a genuine person. He cares for his players. I've never heard anybody say a bad word about him.

"In the business that we're in, feathers get ruffled every now and again amongst players and coaches, but (not with Kelly)."

Kelly also knows how to coach, according to Goodspeed, who was Winnipeg's lone offensive CFL all-star this season. Coincidentally, Kelly's stint with the Rage was the last time he had coaching role as high up the ladder as offensive co-ordinator.

"He was a great offensive coach for us when we were in the XFL," Goodspeed said. "I like his philosophy on the offensive side of the ball. We did score a lot of points. We moved the ball well."

Points were actually hard to come by in the eight-team XFL, but Orlando's Kelly-led offence put up the second-best mark of 21.3 points per contest.

Goodspeed would love to give it another go with Kelly in Blue and Gold.

"Hopefully they want me back next year," Goodspeed said. "If I'm there or not, he's a great coach."


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