Bombers' army of one

Even with his job in question, Blue Bombers director of personnel John Murphy is hard at work. (QMI...

Even with his job in question, Blue Bombers director of personnel John Murphy is hard at work. (QMI Agency file)

KIRK PENTON, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

The memory of those Hamilton Tiger-Cat players hopping aboard that fishing boat at Canad Inns Stadium in early November is what's driving John Murphy these days.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers director of player personnel is on the road for the next three weeks, scouting talent for a CFL team that he might not even be working for a month from now.

With interim vice-president of football operations Ross Hodgkinson enjoying some vacation time and no head coach or permanent VP of football ops in place, Murphy is essentially an army of one when it comes to the squad's management and scouting team.

FUTURE IN LIMBO

Murphy is in Orlando this week for the the East-West Shrine Game. Then it's over to Mobile, Ala., next week for the Senior Bowl. In two weeks it's on to El Paso for the Texas vs. the Nation all-star game.

Murphy, who was hired last January by the recently fired Mike Kelly and the recently resigned Lyle Bauer, has applied for Winnipeg's vice-president of football operations job and is under contract to the Blue and Gold, but his future is in limbo if the new hire isn't him and that person wants to go in a different direction.

His plan is to not let that affect his work over the next three weeks.

Murphy hopes to find a player or two who will one day help ensure the Bombers' next opponent isn't celebrating in the fishing boat at Winnipeg's expense.

"You have to take the high road, is the easiest way to put it," Murphy said yesterday from Florida. "The most exciting thing for me is I can't wait for (this) morning when I actually go to a weigh-in and go to practice and start doing football.

"The worst part of the last six weeks isn't the waiting or the unknown or 'Are you gonna get it or are you not?' or any of that other stuff. It's that I haven't really gotten to do what I'm here to do."

Murphy has spoken with the headhunter in charge of finding candidates for the vacancies on Maroons Road, but hasn't done an official interview. The board had its chance to talk with him face-to-face in the last two weeks, but now he's out of the country until at least Super Bowl Sunday.

Murphy isn't letting that bother him.

"You have to respect the process," he said. "... It's not the choice of the board to be dealing with this right now, it's not the choice of (board member) Paul Robson or any of those people who I talk to on a regular basis to have to keep telling me, 'I don't really have an answer for you.'

"I don't think they feel great about that when they're doing it. But everybody's doing their job."

Another candidate, former Bomber GM Brendan Taman, was interviewed by his current employer, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, on Friday and Saturday.

All he's been told by the Bombers is that he's under consideration.

Murphy has also applied for Saskatchewan's vacant GM position but has not been interviewed.

Another potential candidate in Winnipeg, CFL director of officiating Tom Higgins, has not spoken to anyone associated with the Bombers.

"There's nothing new," Higgins said. "... I'm obviously still interested. I'm not sure where they are at. I'm sure they're doing a lot of work."

Meanwhile, Murphy will go back to doing what he loves: finding talent.

"I'm excited for (today), because it's football," he said. "I'm looking forward to seeing (Danny) Maciocia and Paul Jones and (Bob) O'Billovich and those guys, and just work.

"The fact that they are 100% tied into their organization and they know their job title and their role -- and I don't -- doesn't change how I'll work the next three weeks. It just means I got a little bit more going on than they do."

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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