Ditch the dancing

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

Mike Kelly loaded up the shotgun and blasted the ducks -- not to mention the goose -- right out of the water.

The new Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach is not a fan of choreographed touchdown celebrations, like the duck-duck-goose show the Bomber receiving corps brought out against Hamilton in September.

In the bigger picture, however, Kelly wants to bring back a certain excellence to the team that he believes has been lacking recently.

"I'm a football coach that promises you that the Winnipeg football team will represent the community the way I know it's supposed to be represented," Kelly said. "There is a pride and a tradition that is here that in some manner, as an outsider looking in the last few years, has been lost a little bit.

"The way we handle ourselves in the community, the way we handle ourselves around the country as we go into stadiums and into hotels, there will be a level of pride and tradition that we will carry with us.

"That is not lost on me, and it will not be lost on our players, and we are going to get the culture back to being the Winnipeg Blue Bombers that I used to know."

NOT-SO PROFESSIONAL

Kelly caught wind of some not-so-professional acts happening off the field in recent years, and they won't continue with him at the helm.

"I just heard there were some things I didn't particularly approve of," Kelly said.

Bombers defensive tackle Doug Brown didn't deny that there is an honour the team needs to regain on the field, considering it's been 18 years without a Grey Cup, but he wasn't sure about off-the-field behaviour.

"That's something you'd need to qualify with him," Brown said.

Slotback Arjei Franklin said he hasn't been around long enough to compare the cultures of different Bomber eras, but he hinted that he understood what Kelly was talking about.

"For those who have been Blue Bomber fans for decades, maybe there was a time when things were a little different in Bomberland," Franklin said from Windsor, Ont. "I'm not 100% sure on it, but I look forward to the things that coach Kelly will do when he gets here."

It's apparent that Kelly will be more strict than former head coach Doug Berry, who brought to the Bomber locker-room more of a country-club atmosphere that he learned under Don Matthews.

"(Kelly) has a feeling and a mantra that is to be more of a professional than the other guys," president and CEO Lyle Bauer said.

Specifically, Kelly will not stand for over-the-top touchdown celebrations. Aside from duck-duck-goose, which ended up on ESPN's Pardon The Interruption, the Bomber receiving corps also did a hockey skit and a race-walking performance after scoring six points.

No one knows if the Bombers will win or lose under Kelly, but they definitely won't dance.

"There's a level of class that you need to play with," Kelly said. "I'm not a big fan of duck, duck, goose. That's not happening."

Franklin, who actually lost that game of duck-duck-goose, didn't panic yesterday when informed his new coach wasn't a fan of choreographed touchdown celebrations.

"I think we'll recover," he said. "We'll find a way to keep on functioning and still scoring touchdowns and acting like we've been there before."


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