Spergon Wynn, take a deep breath. Shake off those nerves. The football stage is yours.
Wynn will get the start at quarterback for the Toronto Argonauts on Friday night when they travel to Winnipeg to take on the Blue Bombers — his former team — at Canad Inns Stadium.
Not only will it be his first CFL start since the 2003 East Division semifinal crossover game, but it comes against a club that left a sour taste in his mouth.
"I was upset at the end of last season and I probably said some things that I shouldn't have said— heat-of-the-moment kind of thing," Wynn said Thursday after practice. "But I don't hold any ill will toward this ball club or anybody on it."
Last season, Wynn struggled with injuries and dressed for just three games. With four quarterbacks on the team, Wynn was the odd man out, sitting behind Kevin Glenn, Tee Martin and Russ Michna.
When Wynn left after Winnipeg's disappointing 5-13 season, he said it was "ridiculous" that he didn't get a snap on a losing team.
New city, fresh start
The Blue Bombers dealt the 27-year-old Texas native to Toronto in the off-season.
Wynn wasn't expecting to be a starting quarterback in Toronto, not with the reigning CFL outstanding player of the year, Damon Allen, at the helm.
But when the Argos' veteran broke his middle finger on his throwing hand on the first series of last week's opener against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Wynn was called into action.
Wynn was impressive in his regular-season debut, completing 18 of 28 passes for 224 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in the 27-17 victory.
With Allen expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks, Friday's contest will be one more opportunity for Wynn to show he's capable of being a No. 1 quarterback in the CFL. Wynn's last start came in the 2003 East Division semifinal crossover game when he stepped in for injured B.C. Lions quarterback Dave Dickenson against the Argos. The Lions lost that game.
CFL on CBC analyst Eric Tillman believes Wynn will get the chance to shine in Toronto.
"He has all the physical tools and he's smart. And he's very fortunate to play for, in my mind, one of the best quarterback coaches and developers in the league in [offensive co-ordinator] Kent Austin.
"Let's put it this way, whatever his potential is, I think he'll reach it in Toronto."
Wynn will have some offensive help from former NFL rushing champion Ricky Williams.
In his first regular-season game last week, Williams ran for 97 yards on 18 carries, including 72 yards on 11 carries in the fourth quarter alone.
Another Argo facing his former team will be receiver-kick returner Keith Stokes, who spent last season with the Bombers before signing with Toronto as a free agent.
Berry's time at the helm
Bombers head coach Doug Berry, who spent years as the offensive co-ordinator of the Montreal Alouettes, will make his home debut and is looking for his first victory as a CFL head coach. Winnipeg also lost a 27-17 decision in its season opener to the Alouettes, which means dating back to last year the club, has lost its last four games.
A bigger concern, though, is the play of quarterback Kevin Glenn. He hasn't had a touchdown pass in his last three starts and has given up six interceptions in his last four starts, again dating back to last year. Last weekend, Montreal managed to get to Glenn for six sacks.
Winnipeg did lead Montreal 17-7 in the third after Ike Charlton returned Stanford Samuels's blocked punt 56 yards for the touchdown.
But Chip Cox's 54-yard return of a Glenn interception set up Damon Duval's game-tying field goal with 6:18 left to play.
Duval booted another field goal before Cox's second interception set up Robert Edwards's three-yard touchdown that gave Montreal its 10-point edge.
Glenn finished 15-of-26 passing for 173 yards and the two interceptions. Running back Charles Roberts, who led the CFL in rushing last year, ran 12 times for 71 yards.
Friday's game is the firstof three between Toronto and Winnipeg this season.