Memo to the Bombers

Dear Doug Berry,
Put your silly ego aside and bring back the eccentric one. You know the guy I’m referring to.
He goes by the moniker “Littlehawk” and has been seen jamming in a band or sparring in a boxing ring, but is best known as your former kicker, Troy Westwood.
He deserves to be on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and your team’s recent struggles would suggest you need him.
The current crop of kickers just aren’t getting the job done. Alexis Serna? No thanks. Warren Kean? Unknown. Mark Myers? TBA. Say what you will about Westwood’s kicking, but he was playing in Winnipeg before some of these kids were out of diapers, and he knows the crazy wind conditions that come with playing fall football in Winnipeg.
And if he doesn’t win the kicking job, he is still a serviceable punter and would allow the other guy to focus on field goals. A win-win, if you ask me.
But it’s not just his on-field play that is sorely missed.
The guy was well-liked by his teammates, and brings a swagger and locker room presence that appears to be lacking with the current crop of basement-dwelling Blue and Gold.
Coach Berry ran out of patience with Westwood early this year after giving him numerous opportunities the last two seasons. However, Berry clearly is a guy who holds a grudge and often brought in willing candidates to replace Westwood over the past few seasons. Despite that lack of trust from his head coach, Westwood continually held onto the reigns and his playoff performance last year was solid in the Bombers’ run to the Grey Cup.
Berry tends to let his emotions get the best of him, and that may suggest also why his team appears to no longer be listening. But the option to fire him doesn’t seem to be there (he’s under contract for another couple seasons, and paying him for the duration while bringing in another coach doesn’t seem to be in the Bombers’ budget).
And to make matters worse from a public relations perspective, the latest news out of Bombers’ camp has fan favourite running back Charles Roberts off to the B.C. Lions for Joe Smith.
Westwood would help smooth things over, but he recently incensed the team this season when he claimed Berry had lost the respect of the players while writing a column for the Winnipeg Sun. The Sun has been trying to get Westwood accredited to the press box for home games, but the Bombers have prevented that from happening to this point—which is bizarre in itself.
Signing Westwood would give the Bombers a jolt, and the hype would definitely have a positive impact on fan response and ticket sales—at least in the early going if he can perform.
The timing couldn’t be better, though.
This weekend’s Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg between the Roughriders and Bombers always generates a buzz, but especially when Westwood is in the thick of things. He called the residents of Saskatchewan “a bunch of banjo picking inbreds,” in 2003, and the publicity stunt was a direct inspiration for the game’s title ever since.
The Bombers have won the Banjo Bowl three of four times since its concept, but it’s not looking promising after their six-point performance in a loss to the Riders on Sunday in Regina.
The team is tied for last with Hamilton in the East with a 2-7 record in a season in which many predicted them to contend for the Grey Cup. What has changed from a season ago?
Maybe it’s time to put the petty issues aside and bring Westwood back to the fold.
It can’t get any worse, can it?

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