Derick Armstrong leaves Bombers???

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The Derick Armstrong saga took a significant twist yesterday, and it has left the star receiver's future with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in doubt.

A CFL source said Armstrong and head coach Mike Kelly had such a heated argument in the head coach's office yesterday that players and assistant coaches in the vicinity had to enter the room and step between them.

Kelly wouldn't comment last night, but the team's PR department issued this statement: "Whatever happened between them was part of those two dealing with things between each other and moving past this issue."

The Bombers, however, have placed the 6-foot-2, 215-pound wide receiver on recallable waivers, which is usually the first step in a team either releasing or trading a player. If a team puts in a claim on Armstrong, the Bombers can recall him and then try to work out a trade with the interested squad.

According to the source, Kelly and Armstrong originally settled their differences on Friday after the former NFLer refused to play in Thursday's season-opening game at Edmonton, a 19-17 loss to the Eskimos.

They met twice on Friday; once to discuss the fact that he refused to play the night before, and then again after a story about Armstrong's unhappiness with the Bomber brass appeared online.

However, Armstrong went to Kelly's office yesterday around noon, apparently after discovering his locker had been cleaned out, which would suggest his time in Blue and Gold is over.

The conversation quickly deteriorated into a yelling match. The bystanders, which included offensive lineman Kelly Bates, stepped in before the situation got out of control.

Put to bed

When Kelly met with the media yesterday afternoon (prior to the Sun's knowledge of the incident), he said the Armstrong issue had been put to bed. He wasn't exactly convincing, however, when asked if the former Houston Texan would be on the practice field today at Canad Inns Stadium.

"As of right now, yes," Kelly said.

When pressed, he said "yes" three times that Armstrong would be present today when the Bombers begin their preparations for Friday's home-opener against the Calgary Stampeders.

The Bomber PR department asked the media to stop inquiring about the Armstrong incident after five questions. The only other thing Kelly said about the matter was it was "absolutely" disappointing Armstrong put himself before the team on Thursday night.

Armstrong was docked half of his game cheque for refusing to go into Thursday's contest.

Due to Doug Brown's viral infection that forced the defensive tackle to miss the match against the Eskimos, Kelly and the Bomber coaching staff decided to make a receiver a designated import.

Since Armstrong is dealing with knee pain that kept him off the practice field from time to time during training camp, Kelly put the DI tag on him, making him a backup behind first-year Bomber Adarius Bowman.

When Armstrong was told it was time to go in the game in the first quarter, he refused and ended up watching the entire game from the sidelines in his equipment.

The 30-year-old, who has had two consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, told the Sun on Friday that he deserved to be a starter and play the whole game, rather than platooning. He also wasn't happy that he was told of his new role just prior to game time.

"I didn't want to rotate," Armstrong said. "I felt like I didn't have to rotate, given the years and experience that I've played in this game.They didn't give me the most respect and let me know ahead of time, so I just figured I would return the same favour."

It's sure looking that way...

can't have the inmates running the asylum! lol :?

what a shame...

Someone should notify Bauer that Kelly's his team's head coach, in that case.

not sure I follow...what's Bauer got to do with this?

Because he's the one who put the madman in charge?


We all agree how we can’t have the inmates running the asylum.
Having said that, Kelly appears to be taking on a very much an adversarial position of me against the world mentality, be it the players or the media.
This type of an M/O has a very short shelf life in pro sports and when combined with losing football, wow I don’t get it.
It certainly appears he is way over his head and ultimately is also alienating the fans. When that happens, look out as the boo birds will be heard and more important empty seats result.
I would say Bauer either nips it in bud right now with Kelly, or a firing is imminent regardless of the economics in the three year contract.
Wide receiver Derick Armstrong was absent from practice Sunday. This comes on the heels of Armstrong refusing to take the field after being listed as a designated import (non-starter) for the Bombers season opener in Edmonton Thursday night. - TSN

So much for Kelly's "yes" when asked if he was going to be at practice, and that they'd put it to bed.

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The official party line was that Derick Armstrong is still a Winnipeg Blue Bomber.

While that might have been technically true, the wide receiver is all but finished after 40 games with the Blue and Gold.

The Bombers were shopping Armstrong around the league yesterday, trying to find a trading partner.

If they can't get someone to take the 30-year-old off their hands, they will likely have to bite the bullet and release him.

"The team is always bigger than any individuals, and we'll just leave it right at that," head coach Mike Kelly said.

Armstrong's teammates, who were instructed to not answer questions about the issue, spoke like he was already gone.


"We all know what kind of player he is," quarterback Stefan LeFors said. "He's a good player, and we'll miss that aspect of it."

Terrence Edwards, one of Armstrong's closest friends and colleagues, looked despondent when speaking with the media.

"It's disappointing. That's about it," said the sullen slotback, his head bowed. "Just very disappointed. He was a good friend and a good player, but (it is) very disappointing."

Asked if he was disappointed specifically about Armstrong's refusal to play in Thursday's season-opening loss to Edmonton, Edwards said he was "disappointed in everything."

Armstrong was told to stay away from practice yesterday after an argument between Kelly and Armstrong in the coach's office escalated to the degree players and coaches in the vicinity had to step between them.

"The conclusion we came to was that it was a pretty sensitive situation that went on, and the best thing for everybody was to give it a cooling off period," director of player personnel John Murphy said.

Armstrong was upset because he arrived on Saturday morning to discover his locker had been cleaned out.

It's believed Kelly ordered that to happen after Armstrong had reiterated comments he first made to the Sun about refusing to play to another media outlet -- instead of trying to make amends.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Texas native refused to enter Thursday's contest after being told not by Kelly, but by receivers coach Bob Dyce, that he was going to be a designated import, or backup, against the Eskimos.

The issue of him not playing had been resolved on Friday, but it fell apart again on Saturday and looks as though it is beyond repair. Edwards said the players would welcome Armstrong back to the locker-room if something can be worked out.

"In my eyes, yeah," Edwards said. "I think this team will embrace him. This is not his character. This is something he hasn't done before. I think the guys would embrace him."

That is unlikely to happen, however. Murphy indicated Armstrong will remain away from the team until it decides what to do with him.


"In the long haul we gotta do what's best for this organization," Murphy said, "and what's best is right now for everybody to concentrate on Calgary (Friday's opponent) and for this to not be more of a distraction than it already is."

Murphy also noted that there is nothing more Armstrong can do if he wants to remain in Winnipeg, where he has been a 1,000-yard receiver for the past two seasons.

"At this stage it's now in our hands to decide what we think is best for the organization," Murphy said.

An obvious trade destination for Armstrong would be Hamilton, which has a dearth of quality import receivers. B.C. is another, according to league sources.

The Bombers are apparently hesitant to release Armstrong because they have already paid him approximately $40,000 in roster bonuses.

mike kelly is gonna go down as one of the worst coaches in bomber history.

I hope and pray that Mike Kelly is successful in Winnipeg for his own sake, because he keeps making headlines for all the wrong reasons. If the story is true and Kelly did indeed have Armstrong's locker cleaned out because he didn't back off his earlier comments to the media, I don't know. I just don't. That sounds like the act of a petty, vindictive man, someone whose fear of being publicly embarrassed is greater than his desire to do what's best for the team or to give a disgruntled player a fair shake.

I'm never a fan of players mouthing off to the media. That being said, the original sin here was Kelly's. Waiting until kickoff to tell a veteran receiver that he isn't going to be a starter is plain disrespectful. While I don't condone how Armstrong chose to respond, he had every right to be upset. Kelly needs to check himself and realize that he can't just arbitrarily move players around like chess pieces. Being a head coach is much more than just knowing your Xs and Os.

Essentially, if Armstrong is released, Mike Kelly will have just cost his organization $40,000 in bonus money.

didnt mike kelly also cost the bombers Kevin Glenns bonus??
this guy is not much of a people person. as u say, he may know his x's and o's, but he doesnt have respect of his players.

from reading this latest article, it seems his treatment of Armstrong doesnt sit well with T.Edwards either. its just a matter of time 'til Edwards leaves aswell, IMO.

In addition to the timing of things, Kelly wasn’t even the one to tell Armstrong, it was the receivers coach. I don;t know how the Bombers organization works, but to me that news ought to come from the guy that made the decision - the head coach. To do otherwise looks cowardly.

Kelly strikes me (to this point) as being someone who enjoys more the idea of being a head coach than actually being a head coach. I look at Kelly, and compare him to the three rookie coaches from last year (Trestman, Miller and Hufnagel) and he seems so far below their level as leaders of men. I would have some concerns if I cheered for the Bombers.

Armstrong was told right before the game. Frankly it doesn't really matter who told him or when he was told.

I don't care if he was P*ssed off about it. He should have gone out there and proved he should have started.

Instead, he turned his back on his coaches, and his teammates, and refused to play.

I don't care anymore what happens with him. The faster he's out of here, the better off the team is.

I think Bowman may turn out to be a better choice anyway...lots more miles left in him for sure.

I agree completely about what Armstrong should have done. What should Kelly have done prior to that?

And then clean out a player’s locker before telling him he’s done - cowardly.

Compare how this all went down to how Huffer handled the Armour situation in Calgary, and the complete lack of fallout. Kelly will soon lose that locker room.

If Terrence Edwards is now unhappy due to the Armstrong incident. Then as a Bomber fan I would be very concerned about Kelly's actions. It may be time to seriously look at replacing the Head coach.

Armstrong’s locker was cleaned out AFTER Kelly found out Armstrong re-iterated his stance again to the press…

Prior to that, Kelly and Armstrong had met and discussed the issue. Armstrong went BACK to the press and that’s when they cleaned out his locker…Armstrong should’ve manned up and kept his mouth shut.

I believe Kelly would have given him a second chance had Army not gone back to the press.

As ignorant as Bomber fans want to be about this, facts are facts. The guys a moron (Kelly) and will have the locker room as well as the province of Manitoba against him in no time flat. Sad thing is, there is no replacing him for at least 3 years, because Doug Bery's currently being paid off from the last premature head coach release.

He's a moron why? Because he's getting rid of a player who turned his back on his team?

Fine, then you call him in, and tell him he's done. You don't have some trainer clean out a guy's locker without telling him, and then have him walk in and find it that way. That's bad coaching.

Yes, Armstrong had a fit, and then after things were patched over he ran his mouth. And yes, that's probably inexcusable. Cut him.

But Kelly still hasn't even done that.

I'll give you that...