The year began with so much promise for the Louisiana lefty.
After four years of playing second, third and fourth fiddle, he was finally getting a chance to lead the orchestra.
It's what every quarterback from Damon Allen to Jim Zorn dreams of.
For Stefan LeFors, that dream was going to come true in Winnipeg, under a head coach who traded for him and told him he had an offence that would suit him to a tee.
Four games in, the target of boo birds and at the helm of the worst offence in the CFL, LeFors not only lost his starting job, but also suffered the humiliation of having a 40% pay cut rammed down his throat.
Today, in yet another cruel twist of fate, a nagging shoulder injury has him looking at season-ending surgery.
"What's happened to date, I mean, it's just a nightmare," the 28-year-old told the Sun yesterday. "It's been a bad dream from the get-go. It's like a snowball effect. Things are getting worse and worse."
LeFors hasn't made a final decision on his surgery, yet.
But, speaking on the phone from his Winnipeg home last night, he sounded like he was leaning towards just that.
A second MRI exam Tuesday failed to show exactly why he's feeling pain in his non-throwing shoulder, an issue that first surfaced after the Bombers' season-opener in Edmonton.
"The next option, I guess, would be to go in and get it scoped and clean up some things," LeFors said. "And if I choose to take that route, obviously I'd be done for the year."
He'd likely end up on the nine-game injury list, where his salary -- what's left of it -- wouldn't count toward the cap.
It's the kind of decision you wouldn't wish on anybody, just like the one he was forced to make in July, when the Bombers told him he could have his salary reduced from $150,000 to $90,000, or be released.
If LeFors waits until the season is over, he's forced to spend a chunk of his off-season rehabbing.
If he has the surgery now, he kisses goodbye any chance of redeeming himself for those first four games.
"There's pros and cons," LeFors said. "If something were to happen to Michael (Bishop) in the next game -- I'm hoping that doesn't happen -- but if something did happen, then it could have been another opportunity for me to maybe do something."
An opportunity to do something is all LeFors wanted this season.
When he started the last five games of '07, in Edmonton, he looked promising, completing 60% of his passes and throwing for six touchdowns -- numbers that make a mockery of his production here (46.6% completions, two touchdowns), under head coach Mike Kelly's system.
"It's a tough spot we were all put in. Not just me, but all of us," LeFors said. "Being the first to fall, so to speak, it's tough. It just hasn't felt right.
"I've worked so hard to get to this point, to have an opportunity like this. I mean, it could only come so often. I just envisioned, before coming up here, that I was going to take it and run with it, and not look back."
Instead, his decision to come here has been one disaster after another.
Incredibly, LeFors isn't bitter or pointing fingers. He'll try to remember the positive things that have happened, "the few that have," in Winnipeg.
He won't even rule out playing for the Bombers again.
"I'd be happy to come back next year and try to do it all over again," he said. "If it extends my career playing football, then yeah. I'm not going to stop playing all together because of this.
"This is not going to kill me and my career."
Contact Paul at email@example.com or 632-2788.