No one need to inject Tim Burke with a truth serum to know this:
The man would kill to be back as the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2013. But he also has to live in the right here and now and the small picture is pointing to this weekend’s must-win contest with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Steeltown.
And so a report by Free Press columnist Gary Lawless in today’s paper, Blue want Burke back, that the organization has already begun contract discussions with him for a return next season as the field boss brought this reaction from Burke during his session with the media today:
"I know somebody might ask the question about Gary’s article… the first I ever heard anything about that was this morning when one of the coaches said, ‘I heard on the radio that they were going to offer you a contract…’
"I have not heard anything from the organization. I hope Gary’s sources are really good. I mean, I’d love to be the head coach here next year. But nothing’s been said to me by anybody."
Asked if he had an agent that would be handling these discussions, Burke worked to divert attention from his situation to, instead, the club’s late-season push to a playoff spot. The Bombers need to win their final two games and hope the Edmonton Eskimos lose both of their contests in order to advance to the Grey Cup derby.
"Let’s not get into hypotheticals," Burke said. "If it happens, I’ll be glad to tell you what’s going on. If not… I don’t want to get into hypotheticals. We have to worry about getting ready for Hamilton and trying to beat those guys. We have a glimmer of hope to make it to the playoffs so that’s what we’re trying to do, win this game and then we’ll try to win the next one and then hopefully get in."
The Bombers will be heading to Hamilton for Saturday’s game short-handed along the defensive line. Burke confirmed today defensive end Jason Vega is out while Kenny Mainor is doubtful. As well, defensive tackle Bryant Turner is questionable -- as are safety Ian Logan and slotback Terrence Edwards. As a result, the club has brought back Rodney Fritz, released earlier this year while practice roster player Youri Yenga could also be activated.
The Bombers are already without D-linemen Alex Hall and Brandon Collier.
Meanwhile, cornerback Johnny Sears has been cleared for action after taking a crushing hit on the opening kickoff of last weekend’s win over Toronto.