Former quarterback Buck Pierce is becoming a Winnipeg Blue Bomber once again, this time as a member of the coaching staff.
Pierce will join head coach Mike O’Shea’s staff in the role of running backs coach, the team announced Friday.
“Buck has been through the trenches as a quarterback in this league. He has great experience and will be a valued asset to our coaching staff,” said O’Shea.
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“He will be able to relate to our players very well, and the ability to add a former CFL quarterback to our staff was important to us. He will be a great teacher to our running backs and a strength to our offensive staff."
Pierce, 32, retired from the Canadian Football League on Tuesday after nine injury-plagued seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and B.C. Lions, finishing with 15,289 yards, 76 touchdowns, 1,200 completions, and 130 games played.
He spent five seasons with the Lions before moving to Winnipeg as a free agent in 2010. In September 2013, the Bombers traded him back to B.C.
Pierce won a Grey Cup championship with the Lions in 2006 while guiding the Bombers to the 2011 CFL championship, losing 34-23 to those same Lions.
“Deciding not to play football anymore was a difficult decision, but having the opportunity to re-join the Bombers in a coaching role was really a perfect fit," Pierce stated in a news release from the Bombers on Friday.
"I am thrilled they wanted me to be a part of what I believe will be a great thing here in Winnipeg. I said when I was traded that I hoped one day I would be back in some capacity, and today is a really special day for my family and me."
One of the most popular players to don a Bomber uniform over the past decade, Pierce put down deep roots in Winnipeg, living in the city year-round and making numerous public appearances.
He also became involved in some business ventures and met his fiancee in the city.
“We are very excited to welcome Buck back to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. His dedication to our community, our organization, and his passion to be a winner, makes this a great fit for not only our football operations, but our entire organization," said team president and CEO Wade Miller.
"The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are a better franchise with Buck Pierce a part of it, and I’m very pleased Kyle [Walters, general manager] and Mike were able to bring him on board."
Buck Pierce said he's happy to be coming back to Winnipeg.
You know, it feels good," he said. "It feels right."
He said moving into coaching is a natural progression.
"I've kind of taken on that role in the past couple seasons. Of being a mentor and helping out as much as I can."
And he said his experience as quarterback will serve him well in his new job.
"The quarterback position, you know, we know protections," he said. "We're always working extremely close with the running backs. We meet a lot together. So it's a good transition."
The new season kicks off June 26.