WINNIPEG - His off-season departure from the Bombers was, like a few others, a messy one.
Despite that, Obby Khan doesn't have an increased level of fire in his belly leading up to Friday's game between his new team, the Calgary Stampeders, and the Bombers.
"Of course I'm looking forward to it, but the Blue Bombers that are coming to town on Friday are not the same Blue Bombers that I played with last season," the offensive lineman said Wednesday from Cowtown. "A lot of my good friends have left that team."
Not only that, but the man who told him in late March that they didn't need his services is no longer with the team. Head coach Paul LaPolice was fired on Aug. 25, which didn't make Khan overly glum.
"I have nothing but fond and great memories of the entire organization of old," Khan said. "I don't think one conversation with the former head coach tarnishes my six years of being a Winnipeg Blue Bomber."
Khan confirmed on Wednesday it was not his decision that led to his short-lived "retirement," nor did the Bombers offer him a pay cut for a reduced role. LaPolice informed Khan he was being released, and the Ottawa native, who still makes Winnipeg his home, asked if he could retire instead. The team granted his wish.
Khan didn't file his retirement papers, however, so the Bombers had to release him. That allowed Khan to sign with the Stamps last month. Calgary's offensive line had been struggling when he was brought on board, but now it is playing lights out. As a result, Khan is getting eight to 10 snaps per game in short-yardage situations.
"The guys are playing very, very well, so I have no problem sitting there and waiting for my turn and help out whichever way I can," Khan said.
Khan could feel vindicated in that the Bombers switched centres after only one game this season, but he's taking the high road and pointing out that things are actually better for him than they could have been.
"It's weird, because I thought I would be a lot more hyped up for this game, but it's another game that we as the Stampeders need to win to establish ourselves better in the West," he said.
"And I'd rather be here than I would be there right now, given the current situation. I'd much rather be here."
Johnny Sears, who has missed the last two weeks due to injury, will start at the short-side cornerback spot on Friday night É Slotback Clarence Denmark left Wednesday's practice with a hyperextended knee, but head coach Tim Burke expects him to be able to play on Friday ... The Bombers are 0-9 at McMahon Stadium since 2002 ... The Stampeders signed former Bomber kick returner Jason Armstead on Wednesday ... A fake Twitter account claiming to be Tim Burke's popped up on Tuesday but has since been shut down. "I have never been on Twitter and never plan on being on Twitter, so if you ever get a Twitter from me it's not me," Burke said.