December 4, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Winnipeg Blue Bombers general manager Joe Mack and head coach Tim Burke agree on at least two things:
Too much off-field partying was a problem on last year's Bombers team — and it won't be on this year's team.
"I was concerned about it. Things drifted back. We tried to address it. Obviously, we had a certain amount of hurdles, if you will, last year," Mack said at the tail end of a news conference Wednesday afternoon called to discuss the upcoming CFL draft.
"I know it's something (head coach Tim Burke) is going to address this year. And we think it's such a significant issue that players will be sat down if we have to. And if they don't come around, then they won't be here."
Mack made the comments one day after Burke told Free Press sports columnist Gary Lawless that there were too many incidents last year involving players partying late into the night and then showing up the next day hung over.
Meanwhile, Mack said the Bombers have entertained several offers for the club's second overall pick in next Monday's draft but are likely going to hang on to it for themselves.
"You'd maybe consider (a trade) for a good Canadian player, (but) I'm reticent to trade Canadian picks. I just feel they have real value."
While three of the top five prospects in this year's draft signed NFL deals last weekend — defensive linemen Stefan Charles and Andy Mulumba as well as offensive lineman Matt Sewell — Mack said he thinks all three will have difficulties sticking in the NFL and he will not let their signings deter the Bombers from selecting them.
"They're still on our radar," Mack said.
Updated on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 4:28 PM CDT:
Corrects attribution in third paragraph.