Flutie still has desire to play

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:17 AM ET

On the San Diego Chargers' return flight from a recent trip to Oakland, Doug Flutie had a request for the pilot.

Flutie implored the captain to get in touch with ground control and find out the score of the Grey Cup, a game in which his former Argonauts ultimately defeated the B.C. Lions.

The pilot and Chargers players privy to Flutie's demand thought it was a joke, of course, but the 42-year-old quarterback is nothing if not persistent.

You can take the little man out of the CFL, apparently, but you can't take the CFL out of the little man.

"I was happy for Pinner," Flutie said following Sunday's game against Denver, referring to Argos coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons. "I always said while we were playing if I was ever a coach, I'd want him as my special teams coach."

Despite being shuffled to third-string -- the clipboard-holder with the Chargers -- behind Drew Brees and rookie Philip Rivers, Flutie said he is content in San Diego.

Yes, he'd rather play, but no he isn't in a hurry to leave.

His daughter, Alexa, is a junior at high school and loves the Southern California scene. His son, Doug Jr., who has autism, is getting the help he needs. And a salary of close to $1 million US doesn't hurt for the old man, either.

All of which brings a laugh to Flutie regarding the latest rumours that he will return to the CFL to fulfil a dream and play on the same team as his brother, Darren.

"Didn't we talk about this last year and the year before?" said Flutie, who is a free agent after the season. "The deal on that is my daughter wants to finish up school here so I'd like to get one more year in here. After that, I'd probably retire."

Flutie didn't completely douse the notion of a last hurrah in the CFL but only barely kept the door open.

"Physically, I'm as fit as I was 10 years ago, that's not a problem," Flutie said. "It's my family life.

"I wouldn't rule it out ... no, I won't even say that because that'll stir the pot. I'm just going to say I plan on being here next year."

As much as he'd love to be playing, Flutie takes pride in his role in the development of Brees from almost washed up a year ago to fringe MVP candidate this season.

And he can relate to the grief the third-year quarterback took last year from fans and Chargers management.

"I think he's hardened. I know I am," Flutie said. "There are situations through my career that have made me a little jaded and the same for him. You just go play.

"I think the bottom line is he's more confident in his decision-making, that and his preparation. Then he went out on the field and had success which re-affirms that confidence."

GETTING CLOSER

The Buffalo Bills are still a long shot to make the playoffs, but the price is dropping.

With losses Sunday by the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens, the Bills are just a game out of an AFC wild-card spot, a concept that was inconceivable as recently as a few weeks ago.

The Bills, winners of six of their past eight, don't have it so rough the rest of the way, either, as far as their schedule is concerned. Next up is a home date against the Cleveland Browns, a team clearly in shambles.

The Bills also have a road game in Cincinnati, which won't be a gimme and one in San Francisco which should be. That sets up the final game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Jan. 2 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Baltimore, meanwhile, still has tough road games in Indianapolis and Pittsburgh while the Broncos have games against Indy and Tennessee.

If the Bills win out, which is not impossible, they will finish with a record of 10-6. Unfortunately in the crazy good AFC, that could still have them on the outside looking in when the playoffs begin.

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SNAP JUDGMENTS

Rob Longley looks at the winners and losers of Week 13

BILLS (6-6): Three-game win streak has them back in the hunt.

PANTHERS (5-7): Written off for dead and are now climbing back into the race.

CHARGERS (9-3): Haven't played an elite team, but they're getting better by the week.

RAVENS (7-5): Losing at home to Cincinnati may come back to haunt them.

PACKERS (7-5): Crushing loss to Philly doesn't bode well for the playoffs.

VIKINGS (7-5): Getting beat up by the Bears exposes them for what they are -- another mediocre NFC squad.


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