As a quarterback, Buck Pierce showed pretty good instincts running the Blue Bomber offence early last season.
As a new Winnipegger, he still has a ways to go.
The guy still hasn’t picked up a parka, which can be almost as bad for your health as not picking up a blitz.
“That’s on my to-do list,” a chuckling Pierce was saying, Tuesday.
He’s still driving the car he brought up from California, too, about as smart, it seems to me, as calling your own O-lineman fat.
“I’ve got all-wheel drive, so it’s all right,” Pierce said.
I’ll bet he hasn’t put a snow shovel in the trunk, though. So if you see a Lexus spinning its wheels in a snow drift...
“It takes some getting used to,” Pierce said. “That first big snowfall we had in November.... that’s the most snow I’d ever seen in my life.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him the snow is just a teaser. He’ll find out soon enough what minus-30 feels like.
So why is a just-turned 29-year-old whose off-season home used to be in New Mexico and whose parents live in California hunkering down here?
Showing a determination and commitment to the city we haven’t seen since Khari Jones put down roots here.
Since the season ended, Pierce hasn’t left. He’s not even sure if he’ll be able to squeeze in a Christmas visit to his folks.
Every morning, he’s at the Bomber facility to work out, watch film and talk football with whatever coaches and teammates happen to be around.
“And that’s the way you have to be,” Pierce said. “They’ve shown me a lot of faith and wanting to have me around. I have to hold up my end of the bargain and get back as fast as I can.”
Pierce is actually beyond coming back from the dislocated elbow he suffered in the Labour Day Classic. Says he probably could have played in the playoffs.
“A lot of people when they saw the injury and heard about what it all entails just kind of think, ‘Wow, that’s a year or maybe more, rehab,’ ” Pierce said. “But I don’t think they know the work ethic I have or the willingness I have to get back.”
Which is why Pierce is staying, working all winter under the watchful eyes of the team’s training staff and the doctors who treated him.
He recently had another procedure done on his elbow, cleaning out some scar tissue, but nothing that set him back.
He’s also going to look at ways to make himself more durable, hoping to finally shake the “glass quarterback” tag.
No matter what he does, of course, there will be those who say the Bombers can’t go into another season with their wagon hitched to No. 4.
And after watching first his knee, then his elbow, buckle as the team floundered to a 4-14 record, you can’t really blame them.
If public opinion on him has cooled, Pierce takes it in stride.
“There’s always going to be different opinions,” he said. “I know in my heart, as the organization does, that they have a good chance with me in there. Obviously, you have to be healthy, and you need some stability in that position. That’s what I’m trying to give them.”
And so much more.
“Buck really, really wants the opportunity to be at the helm of the movement to resurrect the fortunes of this ball club,” D-lineman Doug Brown, another full-time Winnipegger, said. “If you are willing to incur frostbite for six months... you are invested in this team.”
“I want nothing more than to give the people of Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba a winning football team,” Pierce said. “Something to cheer for. We have all the pieces in place. Last year was a huge learning process for so many people.”
Sounds like this winter will be, too, for one.
Now somebody get him a shovel and a parka.
Contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org or 632-2788 or Twitter@friesensunmedia