Edmonton receivers happy for Kelly, but will miss him

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:00 AM ET

Edmonton's loss is Winnipeg's gain.

That's what members of the Eskimos receiving corps are saying after Mike Kelly jumped from receivers coach in Edmonton to head coach with the Blue Bombers.

"I loved him as a coach," Eskimos veteran Andrew Nowacki said from Edmonton yesterday. "We definitely lost a really good coach from our staff. It seems like it's going to hurt us. Hopefully, whoever they bring in will be from the same mould."

After 11 years working in the U.S., Kelly spent just one year in Edmonton, making the rare jump from position coach to head man.

But Nowacki isn't surprised.

"It was like he never stepped away," Nowacki said. "His ideas of using motion and everything else, it's like he was coaching in the CFL for the last 11 years.

"He definitely has all the tools as a head coach. He could have very easily been an offensive co-ordinator in this league for a number of teams."

Kelly was the OC for the Bombers back in the mid-1990s.

The Esks leading receiver, Kamau Peterson, agrees Kelly was overqualified for his job this season.

"Once you spend a little time with Mike, you know position coach is way under his pay scale, just based on the wealth of knowledge he has and the experience he brings," Peterson said. "He's very much an educator. He finds a way to reach different types of players, as opposed to coaching everybody the same. Guys definitely want to play for him."

A former Bomber who had a rough time here but has blossomed into a star in Edmonton, Peterson predicts Kelly will flourish in blue and gold.

"He'll do great there -- as long as he doesn't mention me too often."


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