The city is new, but the situation -- a losing and desperate football team -- will be very familiar for J.D. Griggs when he starts at defensive end for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers against the Montreal Alouettes Monday afternoon at Stade Molson.
Prior to joining the practice roster of the CFL-worst 2-12 Bombers last week, Griggs was a member of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, who just happen to be the worst team in the NFL. And prior to that, he played for a University of Akron squad that also did a lot more losing than winning.
Put it all together and you have a football player in Griggs who is even hungrier for a win than his success-starved new teammates.
"My last two years at University of Akron, we were 1-11 both years. So yeah, I’m not exactly new to losing," Griggs laughed following his newest team’s practice at Investors Group Field Friday.
"But my mentality is I like to win -- a whole lot. So hopefully, I can come here and start to change that."
The Bombers are hoping the same thing. Big (6-5,262) fast and exceptionally strong, the Bombers are hoping Griggs can seamlessly slide into the rush end position vacated this week by the trade of CFL sack leader Alex Hall to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Undrafted by the NFL, Griggs signed as a free agent with the Jaguars last spring and made it through training camp in Jacksonville before he was one of the team’s final cuts in late August.
With Hall now gone to Regina, Griggs knows he has a special opportunity to potentially win a long-term job in Winnipeg during the final month of this hapless season.
"The coaches have told me that the next four weeks is an evaluation-type thing. They want me to get used to the system, get used to Winnipeg and hopefully be back next year," said Griggs.
Griggs will be one of two new players on the Bombers defensive line in Montreal. Defensive tackle Zach Anderson has been sick this week and head coach Tim Burke told reporters on Friday that Anderson will be replaced by JT Gilmore on Monday.
In other injury news, Burke said DB Demond Washington has healed more quickly than expected this week and is now likely to play on Monday, but a final evaluation won’t be made until the Bombers hold one more full practice at home on Saturday.