Words from Stegall may have helped

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

If the leader of the locker-room were still in uniform, the whole soap opera revolving around Derick Armstrong may never have happened.

The Winnipeg receiver will soon be sent packing after refusing to play for the Blue Bombers against the Eskimos in Edmonton last week because he was told minutes before the game that he had been listed as the designated import instead of a starter.

"Derick might be out of a job," Milt Stegall said yesterday. "He might be asking me for a loan. I wish I could've been there because one thing everybody doesn't know what's happened. But I would've told Derick 'Just go out and play the game and worry about what's happened after the game.'

"The CFL rosters are already short enough and to lose an import receiver is difficult to replace. I would have told him to go out there and play the game and you guys can discuss the matter after the game. Of course, I wasn't there, it didn't happen. But it's a tough situation right now."

And yes, Armstrong did make a mistake, he added.

"I don't know what happened but you somewhat leave your team hanging and that's pretty difficult," Stegall said. "Guys look at him differently. I don't know what the cause was. But I wish I could sit down and talk to him. I don't know if they're going to release him or if they're going to try to trade him.

"Derick is still a talented player. I know he's got some concerns with his (knee) injuries right now. If I had a chance to talk to him, I'd just tell him to keep your cool and hopefully, get another opportunity to play and when you get that opportunity, take full advantage of it because when it's over, it's over. There's millions of people who would love to be doing what you're doing so be happy in whatever situation you're in, just go out there and do what you can do."

Although the Bombers have been trying to trade Armstrong, there have been no takers.

"I'm not happy with this whole situation at all," said head coach Mike Kelly. "Derick made a mistake, Derick knows he made a mistake. I've spoken with Derick since. I wish him the best elsewhere. But he understands the whole scenario and we move on."\


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