WINNIPEG -- It appears the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have done a flip-flop in their opinion on free agent quarterback Buck Pierce.
Mere weeks after head coach Paul LaPolice ruled out signing Pierce, reports indicate the Bombers are very much interested in the talented, but injury-prone, former starter for the B.C. Lions.
And when contacted by the Sun, Winnipeg GM Joe Mack didn’t slam the door on the notion of pursuing Pierce the way his coach did.
“You never know how things are going to end up,” Mack said. “It’s always an evolving process. You’re always trying to gather information. But I’d rather not talk about any specific player. The knowledge could be used by your opponents, one way or the other.”
Mack did deny a report that said the Bombers would offer Pierce a contract this weekend.
“I approve and navigate all the contracts, and I can say that part of the report is false,” Mack said. “We’re not in negotiations with any other quarterbacks at this time.”
Of course, Mack added, that could change in a day.
It’s a far cry from the adamant views of LaPolice three weeks ago, when he said the Bombers had information from B.C.’s training staff that Pierce’s health was too much at risk for him to play.
“It’s one thing with a knee or shoulder,” LaPolice said. “But with head problems you’ve got to be very concerned about the person, his life.”
At the time, LaPolice ruled out pursuing the 28-year-old.
Pierce reportedly suffered two concussions with the Lions last season, in addition to rib and shoulder injuries. It’s been reported he’s had as many as five concussions in his career, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
However, he also has a record of 21-12-1 as a starter, while the four quarterbacks Winnipeg has under contract — Steven Jyles, Stefan LeFors, Ricky Santos and Adam DiMichele — have two wins combined.
Pierce’s passer efficiency rating of 93.6 is behind only Dave Dickenson and Casey Printers in Lions history, and he’s never completed less than 60% of his passes in a season.
He’s also seen as a respected team leader, on and off the field. The Lions released him and his $300,000 salary last month, committing to Printers as their starter.
B.C. head coach/GM Wally Buono says other teams are probably torn on what to do about Pierce.
“If I was another general manager … I would be losing some sleep over that,” Buono told reporters in Vancouver on Thursday. “Because that would not be an easy decision. I’d be losing sleep on two aspects. One, do I take the risk? Or, do I not take the risk?”
TSN reported that Winnipeg, Hamilton and Montreal have all expressed interested in Pierce. It also said Pierce is drawing NFL interest from Jacksonville, Carolina and Detroit.