After a disappointing 2023 Grey Cup loss Bomber fans were left wondering if they were getting a lump of coal in their stockings or some nice presents under the tree.
Those questions lingered as the Bombers’ General Manager, Kyle Walters, was still without a contract for the 2024 season. However, on November 29, Kyle Walters would sign a new 2 year deal (likely the deal was for 2 years because Winnipeg will host the 2025 Grey Cup).
The question then would be, will players sign in Winnipeg again, move on, or retire? My understanding is that players like stability, or at very least they like to know which regime they will be under.
Trying to do his part, knowing there was great disappointment after the Grey Cup Loss, Walters put out this appeal to the players,
“We’ll have to see. The loss was so emotional that I think a lot of guys talked and were upset and made some statements or let it be known that (retirement) could potentially be an option. I think the best thing is to let things settle down for a month, take a deep breath and revisit guys with what’s their plan and what are we thinking for next year. It was such a devastating loss for all of us it’s taken a little bit of time to get over. Don’t make a rash decision based on the raw emotion that you’re feeling after a loss like that. That’s where we’re at.”https://www.bluebombers.com/2023/11/29/im-most-proud-that-weve-gotten-there/?fbclid=IwAR1L0p7zPaW2lJNfDyyXPqBYH-ef_zWoG6fF-lmp6cy7cqt6r23FbSBGD-s
Well some of the players listened and the presents began to arrive shortly after Walters’ signing.
First would be the big man, Willie Jefferson. As always Jefferson is blunt and to the point! (Photo Credit: Winnipeg Blue Bombers Facebook)
Well not making a specific appeal, Jefferson’s words had to carry weight. I did not think that Jefferson was going to be one of those guys contemplating retirement, but when he says, ‘Come on down to Winnipeg,’ or ‘You should stay in Winnipeg,’ players listen!
Next, on December 18th the Bombers would re-sign all-star guard Pat Neufeld – a guy that could have contemplated retirement at age 34. But ask him about is age and he will tell you, “Age is relative. We’re still going out there on a week-to-week basis and doing great things in the run game and holding up for Zach.” You can find the whole interview here.
Then, one day later, the Bombers would make a 2 year deal with Redha Kramdi, who was scheduled to be a free agent in February.
While the Bombers have more work to do, and they may sign more players before Christmas (and even before this article gets published) Bomber fans should be expecting some more shinny presents under the tree as Kyle Walters and the rest of the Bomber staff and players work their holiday magic!
Who do you think the Bombers re-sign or sign next?
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