The Saskatchewan Roughriders booted Roy Shivers out the door this summer - but the former general manager hasn't cut his deep ties with the coaches or the players.
In fact, Shivers is still quietly talking to the coaching staff -- even giving them advice -- and has an airline ticket to Vancouver for Sunday's West Final between the Riders and the B.C. Lions.
FRIENDSHIPS RUN DEEP
"Those are my friends - Danny (Barrett) and Richie Hall," said Shivers of his former head coach and defensive co-ordinator.
"I talk to them every week.
"They ask me what I think."
And they'll be able to do it in person if their fired boss gets on a plane this morning in Nevada.
"But I don't want to be a distraction," said Shivers, who still hadn't decided as of yesterday if he was actually going to make the trek to Canada.
The 65-year-old grandfather -- who acts and talks like a fiery 40-year-old football guru in his prime - actually had a ticket booked to Calgary last weekend for the West semifinal but backed out because he was afraid the media spotlight would find him. But Barrett still found his old boss shortly after the upset victory over the Stampeders.
"He called me from the airport (last Sunday)," revealed Shivers.
Not surprisingly, the Arkansas native is absolutely thrilled with the sudden playoff success of the team he built and fine-tuned over his six and a half seasons in Regina. And like a proud father, he believes the players he brought together and the coaches he hired are headed for greatness this fall.
"I'm predicting a win against the Lions (this weekend) and a win in the Grey Cup," he stated.
"They have the best defence - and defence wins games in the playoffs."
While Barrett has developed a very solid working relationship with new general manager Eric Tillman, the head coach doesn't even attempt to hide from the fact he's still dealing with his fired GM.
"We talk about things in life," Barrett admitted.
And some players do the same thing with Shivers.
"Since (last weekend) I have talked with Jeremy O'Day, Fred Childress, Jackie Mitchell and Luc Mullinder," explained the colourful American.
In the midst of the emotional high Shivers is still riding on after last Sunday's stirring second-half comeback at McMahon Stadium, there is still the matter of Barrett's future in Regina.
Without a contract or an employment guarantee from Tillman for next season, one of the most popular questions in the CFL right now is: What will the Riders do with Barrett in the off-season?
"What I would like to think it is: What will Danny Barrett do with the Riders?" quipped Shivers.
"I'd like him to run the table (in the playoffs) and have some choices."
To run the table, the Riders need to clear their next hurdle in B.C. But talking in a fashion that still makes it seem like he's part of the organization, Shivers believes Saskatchewan's strength in the trenches will bring a fourth victory in five games against the first-place Leos.
"We match up really well," he said.
"We get to their quarterback and they can't get to our quarterback too much."