Though Drew Willy has yet to take a snap in blue and gold, Bombers fans will be glad to know the pivot may already have chemistry with one of his key targets.
See, although Willy has yet to meet most of the team, he already sees one familiar face on the roster in receiver Nick Moore. The two athletes trained together, went through the grind of the NFL draft together, and kept in touch after they went undrafted in 2009 and battled their way onto NFL practice rosters. When Moore signed with the B.C. Lions in 2011, it was only another year before Willy followed him up to Canada, where he joined the Roughriders in 2012.
So, back when they were dreaming of the NFL, did Willy and Moore ever pledge to end up wearing blue and gold? "Yeah, I don’t know if I would have said that," Willy laughed on Monday, meeting the media at Investors Group Field. Still, he’s glad it came to be. "We’re on the same page with a lot of different things... We picked up in the airport yesterday in Minneapolis like time hadn’t passed. It’s fun to be around him."
For Moore, the chance to play with an old friend comes at a fortuitous time. The 27-year-old receiver was one of the top free agents in the league when he signed with the Bombers in February, hunting for a place to build on a breakout 2013. He was dynamite for the Lions last year, hauling in 73 catches for 1,105 yards -- good for third across the league -- and six touchdowns.
Now, he’ll get a chance to try and surpass those numbers with a quarterback he knows. "I definitely think that people come into your life for a reason," Moore said. "Us being together, we never knew that it would happen. But being that we kept in touch after our different paths, and then we both ended up in the CFL, and now we’re playing for the same team, it’s a good feeling. Knowing you have someone who was there for you in your past."
Oh, a sidenote: although Moore’s receiver brother Lance Moore was just released by the New Orleans Saints, Bombers fans shouldn’t hold out hope that the younger Moore is putting a CFL bug in his elder brother’s ear. Lance is meeting this week with the Pittsburgh Steelers looking to iron out a deal, Nick said.