July 7, 2015


Record: 1–1–0

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Blue Bomber Report

Mixed emotions in Bombers locker-room after brutal season

Fans take in the final Winnipeg Blue Bombers game of the season at Investors Group Field.
Ticats' quarterback Henry Burris is taken down by Jovon Johnson in the first quarter.
Bombers quarterback Max Hall gets rid of the ball just before he is taken down by Brandon Boudreaux of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the first quarter.
Ticats back up quarterback Dan LeFevour passes over the end-zone line among a mass of players. A penalty was called on the Ticats, but they scored on the next play.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers Brandon Stewart (8) attempts to take down Hamilton Tiger-Cats Onrea Jones (89) Saturday afternoon at Investors Group Field.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers Mario Fannin (#32) is taken down by Hamilton Tiger-Cats Onrea Jones (89).
Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Wallace Miles (84) hauls a pass in as Dee Webb of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats reaches for the ball during the second half.
Ticats wide receiver Onrea Jones scores a touchdown as Demond Washington of the Bombers comes crashing down behind him during the second quarter.
Winnipeg football fans watch the game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the second half of CFL action in Winnipeg Saturday, November 2, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats' Arthur Hobbs (24) breaks up the pass in the end zone intended for Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Clarence Denmark (89) during the second half.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Max Hall (15) makes a pass against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the second half.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Rory Kohlert (87) is tackled by Hamilton Tiger-Cats Ray Shipman (42) and Arthur Hobbs (24) during the second half.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers look dejected during the final moments of Saturday afternoon's game.
Jovon Johnson (#2) looks dejected during the final moments of the game.
Bombers' head coach Tim Burke looks on near the end of another Blue Bombers loss at Investors Group Field.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke shakes hands with a member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after the 37-7 loss.
A Winnipeg Blue Bombers fan delivers a message.
A fan dressed in a gorilla suit had a message of his own for the Bombers Saturday.
Others made their voices heard by not showing up at all.
Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Bubbles are fun. For Bomber fans, this game was not.
Keith Tarr calms his three-year-old son Jaxon near the end of another Blue Bombers loss at Investors Group Field.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke and quarterback Jason Boltus walk off of the field after the game.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers Carl Fitzgerald (#26) looks dejected as he leaves the field.
Fans take in the final Winnipeg Blue Bombers game of the season at Investors Group Field. - David Lipnowski / Winnipeg Free Press
Ticats' quarterback Henry Burris is taken down by Jovon Johnson in the first quarter. - Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press
Bombers quarterback Max Hall gets rid of the ball just before he is taken down by Brandon Boudreaux of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the first quarter. - Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press
Ticats back up quarterback Dan LeFevour passes over the end-zone line among a mass of players. A penalty was called on the Ticats, but they scored on the next play. - Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers Brandon Stewart (8) attempts to take down Hamilton Tiger-Cats Onrea Jones (89) Saturday afternoon at Investors Group Field. - David Lipnowski / Winnipeg Free Press
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers Mario Fannin (#32) is taken down by Hamilton Tiger-Cats Onrea Jones (89). - David Lipnowski / Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Wallace Miles (84) hauls a pass in as Dee Webb of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats reaches for the ball during the second half. - Fred Greenslade / The Canadian Press
Ticats wide receiver Onrea Jones scores a touchdown as Demond Washington of the Bombers comes crashing down behind him during the second quarter. - Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press
Winnipeg football fans watch the game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the second half of CFL action in Winnipeg Saturday, November 2, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade - CP
Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke. - David Lipnowski / Winnipeg Free Press
Hamilton Tiger-Cats' Arthur Hobbs (24) breaks up the pass in the end zone intended for Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Clarence Denmark (89) during the second half. - Fred Greenslade / The Canadian Press
Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Max Hall (15) makes a pass against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the second half. - Fred Greenslade / The Canadian Press
Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Rory Kohlert (87) is tackled by Hamilton Tiger-Cats Ray Shipman (42) and Arthur Hobbs (24) during the second half. - Fred Greenslade / The Canadian Press
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers look dejected during the final moments of Saturday afternoon's game. - David Lipnowski / Winnipeg Free Press
Jovon Johnson (#2) looks dejected during the final moments of the game. - David Lipnowski / Winnipeg Free Press
Bombers' head coach Tim Burke looks on near the end of another Blue Bombers loss at Investors Group Field. - Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press
Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke shakes hands with a member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after the 37-7 loss. - David Lipnowski / Winnipeg Free Press
A Winnipeg Blue Bombers fan delivers a message. - Fred Greenslade / The Canadian Press
A fan dressed in a gorilla suit had a message of his own for the Bombers Saturday. - Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press
Others made their voices heard by not showing up at all. - David Lipnowski / Winnipeg Free Press
Reduce, reuse, recycle. - David Lipnowski / Winnipeg Free Press
Bubbles are fun. For Bomber fans, this game was not. - David Lipnowski / Winnipeg Free Press
Keith Tarr calms his three-year-old son Jaxon near the end of another Blue Bombers loss at Investors Group Field. - Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press
Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke and quarterback Jason Boltus walk off of the field after the game. - David Lipnowski / Winnipeg Free Press
Winnipeg Blue Bombers Carl Fitzgerald (#26) looks dejected as he leaves the field. - David Lipnowski / Winnipeg Free Press

It might be the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were in complete denial for days, if not weeks or months.

But the finality of the 2013 Canadian Football League season — even though it hardly came as a surprise — seemed to hit them hard in the moments after Saturday’s 37-7 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. So, while some did the handshakes and back-slaps thing one more time, a number were caught simply staring off into the distance — aware it marked their last game as a team and, perhaps, their last day in Bomber colours.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers look dejected on the sidelines during the final moments of Saturday afternoon's game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers look dejected on the sidelines during the final moments of Saturday afternoon's game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Photo Store

"It sucks to go home," said slotback Cory Watson. "That’s the first thing that comes to my mind. It sucks to go home and not have another week to play. That’s what I’m thinking right now.

"This has been tough. I know it’s part of the business, especially in the position we’re in right now. But it’s hard. It’s hard knowing that most of the guys you see around right now won’t be here. That hurts."

Yes, so while their elimination from the playoff picture was official weeks ago and the sinking ship that was the 2013 season began taking on water as early as July, there was more emotion than you might have imagined in the Bomber dressing room following their 15th loss in 18 games.

Relief? Sure. Resignation? Yup. Disappointment? A gazillion times over.

"I might have dealt with more off-the-field distractions in previous seasons, but this has got to be the most painful season," said offensive tackle Glenn January. "Looking at the guys we have in the locker-room and the camaraderie we have... for us to continually go out there and put forth performances like today... this is our job and whenever you’re failing at your job on a national stage it is extremely, extremely painful.

"We all accept responsibility for what happened, but at the end of the day plays weren’t made, there were too many mistakes. I’m glad that I’m the left tackle for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers right now, because there are some tough decisions to be made higher up. And it’s going to be a tough process for all of us in this locker-room."

Bomber head coach Tim Burke said after the game he’ll now work to evaluate the players, potential free agents and also work on who to protect for the Ottawa Redblacks dispersal draft on Dec. 16. That is, assuming the Bombers don’t make a coaching change before then.

But while Burke’s days will be full — for now — the players will soon be exiting for the off-season. And who returns for training camp in 2014 will make this off-season one of the juiciest in recent memory.

"This has been such a rough season, man," said running back Will Ford. "I enjoyed all the coaches, all the guys. I was just talking about it last night: A football player sacrifices so much, he sacrifices time with his family... all to play the game that you love and it’s not guaranteed. It’s here today and can be gone tomorrow.

"I respect these guys, the guys who put themselves on the line for the game they love. It’s in all of us. And that’s why it’s hard to say good-bye."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait



History

Updated on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 9:30 PM CDT: Corrects typo.

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