Stegall calls Sask. 'the ARMPIT of the WORLD'

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On the verge of walking away from a game he loves and a team he has been a part of throughout his CFL career, Milt Stegall began to have a change of heart while looking at his fingers.

They were empty, completely devoid of the one thing he wants most but has never earned -- a Grey Cup ring.

In that moment of clarity back in the fall, Stegall knew he would return to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for at least one more shot at CFL glory, even if it meant sacrificing precious time with his wife and young son.

"If they were paying me a dollar, I'd say OK," Stegall said after signing a one-year (plus an option) contract extension with the Bombers. "As long as I'm gonna win, I'm happy. In the CFL, nobody is making enough money to retire. The only thing you are going to remember are those Grey Cup rings.

"I haven't been fortunate enough to get one yet, and I'm definitely planning on getting one this year."

Stegall, the Bombers' all-time leader in receptions (678), receiving yards (12,333) and receiving touchdowns (126), was heading into his option year before signing the extension. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CONSIDERED RETIREMENT

He seriously considered retirement after last season when the Bombers were an abysmal 5-13 and when he began to have reservations about being away from his wife Darlene and son Chase (who live in Atlanta) for so many months of the year.

"It had nothing to do with football, but it's the fact that my family is in Atlanta, and that is 20 million times more important than football," said Stegall, 36.

"If it was up to me, I would play forever."

TRYING TO RELOAD

Stegall's signing is a relief to the Winnipeg organization, which is trying to reload quickly for a run at the Grey Cup, a game it will host this year.

"I was concerned," Bombers general manager Brendan Taman said when asked if he took Stegall's retirement talk seriously. "The last thing I needed in addition to everything else that was going on was to have to replace him."

Stegall established the record for career touchdown receptions last year and will now set his sights on the all-time touchdown mark of 137, held by running backs George Reed and Mike Pringle.

While he is only eight back, he insists the record chase doesn't motivate him.

"I try to leave that in the back of my head, but it's difficult because guys like you (media) keep bringing it up," said Stegall, who caught 52 passes for 1,184 yards and 17 touchdowns last year.

"Of course I would like to break the record, don't get me wrong. But if I don't score a touchdown and we win every game, I'm happier than if I broke the record in the first game and we don't win a game at all."

When Stegall does eventually retire, it looks like it will be as a Blue Bomber.

"It's a good feeling to be recognized as a Bomber for life," he said. "Hopefully they don't trade me. They were talking about trading me to Saskatchewan, the armpit of the world, last year."

After last season, the Bombers fired coach Jim Daley and replaced him with former Montreal Alouettes assistant Doug Berry. They also signed an old buddy of Stegall's, receiver/kick returner Albert Johnson III, to a contract.

"Any company, if your stock is down, you've got to make some changes within the organization," Stegall said. "They started with the coaching staff, and I think it's an upgrade. They are going to make some player changes too."

While there are no promises for the future, there's no absolute guarantee this will be Stegall's final season, either.

"I'm not looking at this year as a farewell tour. I don't want anybody sending me off or doing anything special for me."

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Yes I picked up on this yesterday as well. You think this will put a little extra emphasis on the aka Banjo Bowl and other games between the teams.

i’d like to see more of players bashing rival teams in the media…pour GAS on that FIRE.

With Stegall and before Westwood spewing against the Riders and the population, you begin to wonder what a last place team has to gain. Agree, how it makes for interesting reading and sure does fire up the other team and their fans.

exactly...fire up the fans, get more media attention for your team...free advertising.

haha....that is why we love the man.....

Especially in the off season, but other then the Winnipeg media, I didn't read and typically in the off season anything in the Toronto Sun who should have carried the story from their Sun chain. Typically poor or no CFL stuff in the off season here in the Center of the Universe. Instead, lets go nuts and over cover the disfunctional Raptor/Leaf MLSE group.

my heart goes out to you Tom but the argos have made inroads in the TO market lately so things are looking up......hope they start getting the respect they deserve around town....

i think its funny the bombers keep bashing sask.sask will be in the playoffs next season and peg will be golfing early ha ha ha.makes the game more fun.i still talk about nate relieving him self when he made a big sack in peg.
see you next season milt.

Agree things are looking up, but you know even in the off season, “out of sight out of mind”. This trendy city and the fans are very fickled and are bandwagon jumpers onto a “trendy thing mentality”. I suspect the Argos will continue to be so and our schedule is fantastic this year. All weekends and I would think there is a good chance to average 40,000+ this year. A record for the Skydome/Rogers Center.

Hey that wasn't very nice...........Regina is not the Armpit of the world...........but you can see it from there.....................personally I wouldn't want to play in Regina and I'm a rider fan............but hey what hell it does make the rivalry that much funer

argotom, i feel the same way....outta sight outta mind.

last year we started at 30 000 fans, and rose up and finished the year with 40 000 against the ticats.( not including the 44 000 for playoffs )

i expect 34 000 for home opener, and will rise for each game until it hits 44 000 for the last 3 games of the year....giving an average of 40 000.

but it the argos advertise alot - marketing blitz- during the pre-season, we might see 40 000 home opener....lets hope they do that!

players that play in sask love the fans.very exiting from start to finish.
i still say it is one of the loudest places to play.

I hope we are both right and then for the East Final a total sellout of 53,000. If the Leafs and hopefully they will not make the playoffs plus the Craptors for sure are out of it, then this could be another "take advantage" of the market place type year.

…heating the rivalry up already…and the Bombers play the Riders 3 times in the reg. schedule…nice…and Milt pulls out his banjo…and is pluckin; a Westwood tune… love it… the duelling has begun… :lol: :arrow:

all this talk,cant wait for season to start.

well, if the ticats play against montreal in the first playoff round, and win...then i'd imagine the skydome would be packed with 50 000+, cuz lots of ti-cat fans would make the trip to see a playoffs game, which decides if they go to the grey cup.

and this would make lots of headlines in the toronto media, fursure!

I agee, I call Saskatchewan, Suckatchewan as a joke, but armpit of the world is just down right nastily.

Glenn to Stegall over the middle......OOHHHHH Scott Gordon creams him...Fumble..... MOrgan picks it up, he deeks through the bomber players, they are gonna get him, lateral to McCalla ...Touchdown!!!!!...Stegalls still not up, bring out the cart..

Armpit of the world? Wow!! he obviously hasen't been to Trenton N.J.