Bombers, Argonauts coaches reflect on their journey to the 109th Grey Cup

It was a busy first day of CFL Grey Cup festivities for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Toronto Argonauts Wednesday, as teams spent the day on the field, behind the microphone and in the community.

Teams spent time on the field for their first practices in Regina getting used to the cold, but one of the most intriguing discussions came off the field.

Read more: Argonauts and Blue Bombers hit the field for a cold first practice ahead of the Grey Cup

Wednesday morning began with Blue Bombers’ head coach Mike O’Shea and his Toronto Argonauts counterpart Ryan Dinwiddie sitting down together and reflecting on their team’s path to the 109th Grey Cup.

The coaches were quick to show their respect for the opposing franchise as each has deep roots with both teams.

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O’Shea spent more than 13 seasons with the Argonauts organization during his time as a player and coach. He won three Grey Cups with the Toronto franchise.

“You care about those guys and you know you’ll never stop caring about those people because you share so many good memories with them and tough memories too,” O’Shea said.

Mike O’Shea has won back-to-back Grey Cup’s with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and he is looking for a third on Sunday. Thomas Skrlj / CFL

Dinwiddie, meanwhile, has spent his fair share of time in Winnipeg – perhaps the biggest game of his life came in his first CFL career start as a Blue Bomber in none other than the 2007 Grey Cup against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“We had an opportunity for (a championship win) and it’s unfortunate we couldn’t bring a Grey Cup back to Winnipeg,” Dinwiddie explained recalling the loss. “I really wanted to be one of the first guys to do it. Unfortunately, Mike was the guy to get that done.”

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O’Shea has won two straight Grey Cups with the Blue Bombers, and his eyes are set on another.

Read more: A jam-packed Thursday at the Grey Cup Festival in Regina

It wasn’t hard to tell, though, that the focus was on winning this game, not the memories they have of their own playing days.

“If you see yourself in that player mindset as a coach, you’re not doing the right things,” Dinwiddie said. “Let’s not lose sight of what the goal is – to win a game on Sunday. That’s what we’re here for.”

Ryan Dinwiddie is coaching in his first CFL Grey Cup, after making his first career start as a player in the 2007 Grey Cup. Thomas Skrlj / CFL

O’Shea was asked about his contract expiring at the end of the season, and if that has put any doubt about his future in Winnipeg ahead of the game. He advised against reading too much into it.

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“If you look at the history, I always play out my contracts and figure it out at the end of the year,” O’Shea said. “I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it, to tell you the truth.

“If I’m asking our players to stay in the moment and stay focused on the very important task at hand, I don’t waste a lot of time during the season worrying about after the season,” O’Shea said. “We can fix that or figure it out after.”

In the meantime, all eyes will be on Regina as final preparations are made for the CFL championship game Sunday. Kick off is at 5 p.m.

Click to play video: 'Grey Cup makes its way from Saskatoon to Regina'

Grey Cup makes its way from Saskatoon to Regina

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