Simpson worth a lot

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:14 AM ET

Doug Brown has a demand of his own, of sorts.

Should Winnipeg management grant disgruntled Barrin Simpson's wish to be traded, the veteran defensive tackle hopes the Blue Bombers will at least get equal value in return.

"I would want something quite spectacular in exchange for Barrin Simpson," Brown said yesterday. "Any time you take away a perennial all-star player who perennially leads the CFL in tackles, or close to it, it depends on what you get back for him."

Disappointing

But Brown isn't anxious to see the 'Minister of Defence' go.

"If he's asking to be traded publicly, you just hope his (turf) toe limits his takers right now," he said. "He's been a big part of the success we've had here and it would be a shame to see him go ... I've played a long time with Barrin and it's always disappointing when a player of that calibre has difficulties here or where a situation arises where he wants to get out and apply his trade elsewhere.

"We're lucky we've got some guys who can play (linebacker). But at the same time, there are some intangibles in the terms of his leadership and the things he brings to the locker-room outside of his play on the field, which is very impressive."

Veteran centre Obby Khan was surprised such a team leader would become so unhappy he'd want to leave.

"The idea sucks," Khan said. "You never want to see a long-time teammate go anywhere. We've gone through so much with that guy. That being said, he's got to do what's best for him, and the team's got to do what's best for it. It's a business, ultimately. I've had my best friends cut. You've still got to come to work and do your job."

The Simpson situation is just the latest saga in this season's soap opera.

"It'd be a perfect world if all of us would stay together," said defensive end Gavin Walls. "It's a whole different team. Every day, you never know. It's the world we live in.

"If we keep a family nucleus here, we'll be OK. It's the nature of the business. It gets real ugly. People get discouraged and stuff. They're used to playing with a particular guy, and things change."

Change has been a constant in Bomberville this year, and not always for the better.

"There's been a lot of distractions, a lot of things this year," Walls conceded. "The best thing we can do is stay focused and not let this deteriorate the family. We've still got a lot of football left. We can't let that be an issue. We need to get into these playoffs."

Who's next

But don't blame them if they are starting to wonder who's next.

"We're doing well in here, so I don't know what's going to happen in the future or anything like that," said fullback Jon Oosterhuis. "But I'm confident with everybody that we have in here, and we seem to have a good core still.

"(Simpson's) a big leader but we've got a lot of big leaders. I don't know. We'll see what happens in the next little while here."

Just don't expect Simpson to be back in Blue.

"We're going to miss Barrin a lot," Walls said. "I've always enjoyed going to war with Barrin."

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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