Players take LaPolice firing in stride

Edmonton Eskimos defensive back Ronnie Prude stops Winnipeg Blue Bombers slotback Terrence Edwards...

Edmonton Eskimos defensive back Ronnie Prude stops Winnipeg Blue Bombers slotback Terrence Edwards during CFL football in Winnipeg Thursday July 26, 2012. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI AGENCY)

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:05 PM ET

WINNIPEG - Winnipeg receiver Terrence Edwards was still trying to adjust to the news late Saturday afternoon.

The Blue Bombers had sacked head coach Paul LaPolice earlier in the day — just after the club had lost a 20-17 squeaker to the reigning Grey Cup champion B.C. Lions.

“I was very shocked,” said Edwards, a team captain. “I didn’t see this coming.”

He also wondered about the timing of the move.

“I think we’ve been playing better the last three weeks,” Edwards said. “We had a lot of penalties (Friday night), but we played well enough to win.

“But it was likely as the result of a combination of things over the last while … I appreciate what coach Lapo has done for us but we’ve got to keep moving on.”

Defensive co-ordinator Tim Burke was named interim head coach.

“You never like to see anyone lose their job, but it’s the nature of the business,” said veteran offensive lineman Glenn January. “He was a good coach. I had him as an offensive co-ordinator in Saskatchewan and a head coach here, and you could never doubt his passion.

“But, in this business, you can never be surprised by this kind of move or firing.”

Yet the timing caught January by surprise, too.

“We didn’t get off to the best start of the season, being on the road for four games,” he said. “But, aside from one game here, we’ve been pretty competitive. We had two good wins and we went toe-to-toe with the league’s best team (Friday), and I felt we had turned the corner.”

Burke was a popular choice as a replacement, though.

“It will be exciting to play under coach Burke, for sure,” January said. “He’s been to the last four Grey Cups.”

Edwards concurred.

“I think coach Burke is going to put his own stamp on it,” he said. “He’s going to bring more stability to the team … He’s gonna lead us.”


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