THE men relegated to the back-up quarterback roles this week for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers said Monday they're not liking it one bit.
Returning from their mid-season bye week, the 1-5 Bombers returned to practice Monday with Max Hall promoted to the starting quarterback's job for Friday's home game against Hamilton.
Justin Goltz had started the team's previous two games, and veteran Buck Pierce the first four of the season before that.
Goltz appeared to be the most upset by the decision on Monday.
"I don't really understand it," Goltz said after practice. "I think it was poorly managed. But I'm 25 years old and I feel like I've got a bright future and the best days of my football are ahead of me. Right now I just don't want to say anything that will put my career in conflict."
Goltz, who went 32 for 63 in his two starts, didn't limit his displeasure to that.
Asked he thought he was caught in the housecleaning that saw GM Joe Mack dismissed last Friday, he said: "Yeah, I definitely felt betrayed at this point."
"There are a lot of things I just don't understand and don't know," Goltz said. "I've been told they haven't given up on me but at the same time, I'm not the one stepping on the football field. It's just hard to sort out what to believe and what not to believe.
"I wasn't really given an explanation. I know that everybody wants to win now. There's a lot of pressure with a lot of people's jobs. I think everybody's trying to search for a fast fix and I don't necessarily think that one person is going to come in here and turn around our offence. I don't think it's going to be one quarterback, one receiver, anybody. I think there are a lot pieces that need to be fixed."
Goltz said he didn't know who made the final decision to demote him.
"You can ask around but nobody really gives you a straight answer," he said.
Pierce, the nine-year veteran who went out in Week 4 with an injury, appeared somewhat disillusioned.
"I don't know (who's decision it was)," he said. "You'd have to ask them. I have no idea who's making any kind of calls anymore. So I stopped trying to figure it out."
Pierce was not inclined to discourage criticism of the decision.
"I've been in this league a long time," he said. "You guys have been around a long time. It's a first. A couple of weeks ago when they made that announcement with me, that was a first. Here we go again this week. I show up every day and try to stay positive. Whoever decides to go in, I'm going help them and support them."
But he still called this season's decision "rash."
"I think they made a very rash decision after Week 4 saying I'm not going to be (in)," he said. "I think a lot of people are making decisions very quickly. If that's the direction they're going to go, then that's the way they're going to go.
"Talking with a lot of veterans and guys, we haven't seen anything like this before. It's important for us to stay positive and for me to show up here every day with a smile on my face and getting guys better."
And Pierce said this when asked if this week's choice of Hall might be a trial.
""I don't know what might happen at the end of the day," he said. "So staying positive, I feel great physically, so I'm getting ready to put my helmet on and go play."
Bombers head coach Tim Burke didn't sound like he'd be taking the quarterbacks' comments too personally.
"Understandably, they're competitors," Burke said. "They feel like they should be the starting quarterback. I know they're upset and it takes time to get over it. Sometimes you've just got to look at the situation and you've got to realize my chance may come again."