Buck Pierce not concerned about future with Blue Bombers
By KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
Pierce frustrated he's not playing against Calgary
WINNIPEG - The scene, like so many others that have unfolded for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during a bizarre 2012 CFL season, left many observers scratching their heads.
There was Buck Pierce, the oft-injured quarterback who has been given medical clearance to play but is being held out one more week for precautionary reasons, standing on the field at Canad Inns Stadium, trying to toe the company line while occasionally taking a deep breath and probably doing his best to bite his tongue.
As usual, Pierce handled himself like the professional he is, exhibiting the proper balance between expressing his frustration about being relegated to the sidelines for one more week, while also saying he understands the reasoning that went into the decision.
To ensure there was no misunderstanding, Pierce — who went down with ligament problems in his left foot against the Edmonton Eskimos back on July 13 — was asked if he wanted to play this week?
“Of course,” he offered. “What am I doing here? I want to play. It’s frustrating for me to be cleared and have to watch. I’m ready. That’s my job. I’ve been waiting to get the nod now for awhile and just see what happens.
“As a player, it’s not up to you and you have to realize that. It’s up to the doctors and the trainers.”
Pierce was made aware of the decision to give Joey Elliott a fifth consecutive start on Monday, after meeting with the medical staff and interim head coach Tim Burke.
“They wanted to do what’s best for our future, whatever that is,” said Pierce.
Is Pierce concerned the Blue Bombers are trying to find his successor?
“That’s professional sports, that is every club’s agenda. Every club wants to look toward the future and you have to,. I understand that,” said Pierce. “Do I feel they have the best chance to win when I’m in the game? Of course. That’s my mindset.
“Down the road, who knows what is in store for any of us?”
Burke’s decision had many wondering about the long-range forecast for the quarterback position for the Blue Bombers, but the new bench boss made it clear that Pierce would be back under centre next week against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
But what if Elliott throws for 350 yards with three touchdowns and wins on Friday?
“Buck’s our guy,” said Burke.
When the subject turned to whether the Blue Bombers were keeping Elliott at the controls simply to see if he might be the long-term solution, Burke went out of his way to ensure there wouldn’t be a quarterback controversy under his watch.
“I think Joey has done a great job but we feel like Buck is our No. 1 guy and we have all along,” said Burke. “We just need to get him a full week of practice. It’s just not fair, on a short week, to try to put him in and throw him to the wolves. He’s a competitor and he believes he can do it. But I just think it’s better if we give him a full week.”
Burke also shot down a suggestion that Pierce’s status as the starter could be under review after he returned and that he might need to fight for his job down the stretch.
“That’s totally ludicrous,” said Burke.
For the time being, that should clear things up.