Pierce cleared to play for Bombers
By JIM BENDER, QMI Agency
|Buck Pierce will not start Friday in Calgary. (Reuters/OLIVIER JEAN)
WINNIPEG - Winnipeg quarterback Buck Pierce was quick to catch any inference that the question may have included.
While sitting out the last two CFL games with a concussion, Pierce has helped Blue Bombers offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton design the gameplans and sat in the spotters' booth with him during games.
So, the question was, do you see yourself becoming an OC in the future?
"Yeah — in about eight years from now," Pierce responded with a smile.
Of course, the inference could have been a veiled suggestion that the oft-injured pivot should consider early retirement to avoid more trips to doctors' waiting rooms in the future.
"I think every quarterback dreams of calling plays and being out there and just work at the position," said Pierce, 30. "You know, I love this game so much that I want to play it as long as I can."
Pierce was officially cleared to return on Wednesday and he will start against the Argos in Toronto on Friday.
"I feel great. I feel good," he said. "I feel back to myself. I feel really well."
Pierce, who has had a well-chronicled history of football injuries, was asked what his motivation was to come back, especially since the Bombers are dead-least in the CFL with a woeful 4-11 record.
"Winning," he responded. "My job's to win. It doesn't matter where we are, we've got to win. What motivates you is the pride you have for this game and yourself and all the hard work that you put in. There's no lack of motivation, that's for sure. Not on my part anyway."
Pierce has heard the opinions of people who suggest that he should retire early to prevent further injuries that could affect his health once his playing days have ended.
"That's their opinion and I respect everybody's opinion," he said. "But that doesn't bother me. I know how I feel and I know what my body can do."
Interim Bombers head coach Tim Burke is not worried that Pierce is risking further injury to his melon.
"He's been cleared medically and he's good to go and he's excited to go," he said. "I think, if you watched practice (Wednesday), you could see the offensive guys were excited, and he threw some really nice balls out there."
In Toronto, Pierce will be playing against Argos linebacker Brandon Isaac, whose illegal hit caused the concussion that kept him out of the last two games.
"Well, we're playing Toronto, I'm not playing Brandon Isaac," said the 6-foot-1, 210-pound New Mexico State product. "We're moving on from that. That was three weeks ago and let's focus on going out there and putting a gameplan together to beat the Toronto Argonauts."
But does he expect a chippy match?
"There's always trash talk but that's just part of the game," Pierce said. "I expect it to be no different from when we played them other times. They're gonna play hard and they're gonna get after ya, and I like that and I expect that."
Pierce's teammates welcomed him back with open arms.
"I'm excited to hear that my friend is healthy," said offensive lineman Glenn January. "I feel for him. He's gone through a lot of tough stuff and he's our guy. We've been saying that all year and we're going to continue to say it.
"He's our starter and he's given us our best opportunity to win this year so, to go back out there and face this squad with Buck back at the reins is a good feeling."