LeFors take a paycut... midseason!(merged)

Deep cut for LeFors

Former starting QB forced to take pay reduction or walking papers

By PAUL FRIESEN

Last Updated: 19th August 2009, 2:04am

Talk about adding insult to injury.

Winnipeg Blue Bomber quarterback Stefan LeFors not only lost his starting job after just four games this season, he was also forced to take a hefty pay cut.

The Sun has learned the Bombers took the unusual step of clawing back $60,000 of LeFors' salary -- cutting it from $150,000 to $90,000 -- when he became the backup to Michael Bishop.

Two sources said LeFors was basically given an ultimatum: take the pay cut, or be released, outright.

Asked about the move yesterday, the 28-year-old didn't hide his disappointment.

"They didn't put me in the best position," LeFors told the Sun. "But when I feel like I have a gun to my head, what am I going to do?"

Now, Bomber fans may argue LeFors deserved a pay cut, after the way he played.

But while off-season pay cuts aren't unusual, it's rare for players to give back pay for their performance during a season.

It's a startling development for a player anointed by head coach Mike Kelly as his guy going into the year. How can you back someone so staunchly for months, then hack his paycheque after four games?

The news won't go over well in the Bomber locker-room -- not that anybody will say anything publicly.

But I'll say it for them: this move lacks class, plain and simple, and won't put the Bombers in a good light around the CFL.

LeFors, though, wasn't about to criticize his head coach. He simply called it "frustrating" that the organization would put him in that position.

"When you're approached to do something like that, I wouldn't wish that on anybody," LeFors said. "I was put in a position where it was tough for me and for my family."

There's more.

The timing of the whole incident, around LeFors' shoulder injury, raises some serious questions.

To force a pay cut on a player, a team has to cut him first, then re-sign him to a new deal.

But teams aren't allowed to cut players who are hurt.

LeFors hurt his right, non-throwing shoulder in Hamilton, July 18. He played with the injury a week later, at home, against Toronto, a 19-5 loss that cost him his starting job.

He was then given his pay cut ultimatum -- before he was to have an MRI exam, a procedure that would show a second-degree sprain to his AC joint and some bleeding in the trapezius muscle.

Doctors now suspect he may have a slight tear in the labrum, as well.

Seems to me LeFors was, in effect, cut when he was hurt. He probably has a case for a grievance with the players association.

But he's taking the high road, saying he's simply going to keep working at doing his job better.

"I know I can do better than what's shown on the field," LeFors said. "This is not the way I want to go out. It comes down to this team. I'll do whatever it takes to help this team out. All that other stuff just goes out the window."

It's amazing LeFors can keep so levelheaded through this whole thing.

He didn't hide from the questions I asked, but not once did he question his head coach.

A head coach who's already thrown him under the bus, and put a serious dent in his livelihood.

The thing is, four quarterbacks have taken the controls of Kelly's offence, and all four have failed. Thousand-yard receivers from a year ago look like rookies.

And there's no inkling things are getting better.

What's next: pay cuts for the receivers? How about the O-line? Don't scoff -- word is this team has some salary cap issues, too.

Which leads me to one, final question.

Has anybody asked the head coach to take a pay cut?

LeFors :thup: Kelly :thdn:

Refer to: http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Football/CFL/ ... 6-sun.html

I am shocked! I know it's a business ... but there should be a modicum of integrity when one conducts business. As a lifelong Bomber fan, a former season ticket holder (gave them up when I left Canada) and former employee of the Winnipeg Football Club, I am shocked and appalled by the (at best) classless and (at worst) illegal move by the Bombers regarding the salary of Stefan LeFors.

Mike Kelly had (when I was with the Bombers in the mid 90s) a great offensive mind - whether he was riding on the coattails of Matt Dunigan is another debate - but for anyone (coach, staff, even other players) to support clawing back $60,000 from a player mid-season when that player may be injured is wrong. We all hate it when players fail to honour their obligations to teams, but for a team to do this undermines all their contracts. Did Lafors deserve his contract - maybe not - but the Bombers should honour it, or release him (which they couldn't do since he was injured). The fact that everyone is so quiet tells me that there may be deeper problems than a poor record and questionable business practices on Maroons Rd. This whole thing reeks and I suggest that Bomber fans let the club know their displeasure.
LTF

Classless is Mike Kelly's middle name. Followed by idiot, big mouth, old school, Q ball, etc. :lol:

Absolutely unbelievable - bush league. Winnipeg is now going to be last on the list when players are trying to make decisions about which organization they would like to play for. Would Lefors even have come to Winnipeg if they hadn't offered him that amount of money off the start?

Very bush league, the kind of move which gives the entire league a black eye.

Bombers should have know better, anyone that knows anything about the game can see this guy does not have the talent to play in this league, its a joke, he won’t be in the CFL next year, and if he is and Kelly is running the show they will finish last once again. You have to proof yourself before you get the cash, don’t know how the hell he ever got a salary like that :roll:

If how it is reported is true, that's pretty low class on the part of the Bombers. It will certainly cause the current regime a credibility hit, and can certainly impact their free agency acquisition/retention next year. Frankly, my opinion of LeFors just went up over how he handled this.

And, how can you be in year one of a total re-build and have cap issues? Seriously.

Among Kelly's many hats is one with the letters GM on it, so all of this mess falls to him. Some more shining examples of handling things in a spectacularly wrong fashion. Think about the litany of gaffs to date, this being the most recent. At this stage, I would suggest that comparisons to Reinbold would be an insult....to Jeff Reinbold.

I can't help but be reminded of the Simpson's episode where Homer took over as football coach: "and now for the easiest part of a coach's job - the cuts....."

awesome post! especially the part on Homer as head coach lol!

Big Blue is a nickname for IBM.

I worked for IBM, and took a 25% paycut to keep my job for a few more months only to be cut.

Seems the bombers are just applying that idea to football

LeFors is handling this as well as one could expect; very professional. Consistent with what we've come to know about his attitude.

Too bad the same cannot be said for the folks running show in Winnipeg.

It was Kelly's blunder to sign him and name him as his starter and then when he attempted to correct the move, again the HC is to blame.
Seems to me if they want to reduce his pay notwithstanding the contract, it should come out of Kelly's contract.
I don't know how you guys in BB land will be able to handle this HC for multi years.
Berry was nothing in comparison, just the odd mean streak.

Wow I would have never guessed the Bombers would be the ones to make this bush league action. Oh wait...

This is really the limit as far as I'm concerned. Assuming it's true as reported, it encapsulates so much of what's wrong with the Bauer-Kelly regime, from contempt towards the players (starting with Glenn) and fans (Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, whoever) to contempt for the rules and ethics of the game (quarterback camp, Spygate) adding up to a stunning combination of arrogance and stupidity. I hope this is a big enough gaffe that the Bomber "brain-trust" :roll: gets nailed to the wall on it.

I've asked a couple of times what made Reinebold worse than Kelly and never heard too much. I guess it's moot point now, Kelly is certainly the village idiot of the 21st century CFL.

Berry was a bit of a wild man on the sidelines. . . but by comparison to his replacement, he's a paragon of composure.

I'll stick my neck out. . . if BC blows Winnipeg out on Friday, look for a new head coach (Nelson?) in Winnipeg before the weekend is over.

I'd rather you stuck Kelly's neck out.

If Lyle Bauer approved this deal, for the good of the Bombers and the league, he should be dismissed along with Kelly...the sooner the better. I always thought it was Taman who was the problem in Wpg, now I'm starting to wonder?

Who owns the Bombers these days. Asper? Or do they still have a community BOD? :expressionless:

Yes but that would mean how the BB would be stuck with paying two contracts from the fired HC's.

I believe there is still a board in place that runs the team. If this was done with the knowledge of and sanctioned by that body, the League probably needs to step in and void LeFors' new, lower contract. And, Cohon has to get on a plane to Winnipeg and personally smack the pee-pees of both Kelly and Bauer for a move that frankly taints the entire league.

And if either of the Board, Bauer or both were unaware of this, and Kelly did it on his own, then Bomber management's first call should be to the League, advising it that things will be handled. And then they need to go and find an empty box, and walk down to Mr. Kelly's office....

I hope Milty is on the panel Friday night. Be interesting to hear his take on this.

It's expensive for them, yes. But the status quo is simply not acceptable; I think they're going to have to bite the bullet.

And here's what else gnaws at me: Kelly's dad was an old-time college coach. He spoke reverently about his time as a kid being around this dad's teams. His coaching outift on "retro" weeks was a sort of tribute to his dad, and how he remembers him dressing on Saturday mornings.

He grew up around the game, and saw first hand how a coach ran a team of young men. So what the hell is he thinking? Plus, he cut his CFL teeth with Cal Murphy, who might have been gruff, but never had a reputation for being anything but straight.

If LeFors' performance was not worth what they were paying him, let him go. If they didn't want to do that, but had SMS problems, 9 game him and your problem is solved.

But it's the same old story. Whenever he encounters a problem, Kelly seems to instinctively choose the worst possible manner in which to handle it.

For the life of me I can't figure out why.