HAMILTON -- Winnipeg Blue Bombers slotback Terrence Edwards was still wearing a walking boot when the team bus arrived here at Ivor Wynne Stadium Friday afternoon for a light team practice in advance of Saturday’s critical CFL contest between the Bombers and Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Edwards removed the boot and limped his way through practice on his bad ankle, but he was clearly not comfortable. Still, Edwards insisted afterward that he will play Saturday afternoon in a battle of 5-11 teams that will see the loser eliminated from playoff contention. "I’m going to play. I’m better than I was last week. It’s a little sore but I’m just protecting it so I can be ready for tomorrow," said Edwards, who missed last week’s win in Toronto over the Argos because of the injury.
Edwards needs just 11 more yards to go over 1,000 yards receiving for the fifth time in his career, but he insisted the milestone -- and contract bonus that will surely come with it -- has nothing to do with his insistence on playing tomorrow and everything to do with keeping his team’s playoff hopes alive.
"I’ve had 1,000-yard seasons and what has that gotten me? Nothing so far," said Edwards, referring to the lack of league championships on his eight-year CFL resumé. "I’m out here for my team and trying to put my team in a position to win. So, 12 yards, 11 yards, whatever it may be, it doesn’t really matter to me."
While the immediate future of the Bombers will depend on the outcome of Saturday’s game -- Winnipeg needs to win its last two games and have Edmonton lose their last two to make the playoffs -- Edwards said he thinks the bigger picture for the Bombers is bright even if it hasn’t always looked like it during a trying 5-11 season.
"We have the right people in place," Edwards said when asked what direction the Bombers should take in the upcoming off-season. "I think Mr. Mack (Bombers GM Joe Mack) should stay. He has brought talent here. Look at the young guys we got -- look at (receiver) Chris (Matthews), look at (running back) Chad (Simpson). I think Coach (Tim) Burke has done a hell of a job at keeping this team together when it could have imploded long time ago.
"So I think the people are in place to do what we want to do -- and that’s win multiple Grey Cups. So I hope the people who make the decisions keep this intact... regardless of what happens tomorrow... Just look at the progress we’ve made in a tough situation. Coach Burke has done a great job at keeping this team together and I think he’d be the right man for the job."
Edwards said he understands if the fans are impatient with the state of the franchise and a Grey Cup drought in its 22nd year, but he urged supporters to look at the bigger picture. "I think they also have to understand that successful teams in this league have steady people in place for a long time.
"I think the right guys are here. Mr. Mack has done a wonderful job. Coach Burke has done a great job. I can understand the fans frustrations... but they also have to understand that always blowing things up can set teams backwards."