Bombers' Justin Medlock considers not returning to Winnipeg — or football

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers' leading scorer punted around the idea of not returning to the Blue and Gold next season - or even playing professional football at all.

Bombers have several potential free agents; QB Matt Nichols vows to play 'salesman' to keep them together

Winnipeg Blue Bombers kicker Justin Medlock reacts after missing a field goal attempt that would have tied the game on the final play against the B.C. Lions July 21, 2017. Medlock says retirement is one option he'll consider now that the Bombers' season is over. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers' leading scorer punted around the idea of not returning to the Blue and Gold next season — or even playing professional football at all.

Kicker Justin Medlock said Monday he is considering all his options as his contract comes up this year.

"I want to take a second and kind of think about what I want to do, whether I want to play, whether I want to play somewhere else or whether I want to play here. I got to take a second to think about that," he told media gathered in the Bombers locker room late Monday morning. 

"Trying to think about all possibilities, right? I live in Florida, right? I've been thinking about doing some other things in life maybe, so we'll see. But I'm also considering coming back too."

Contracts up

Several veterans' contracts are up after this season, leaving big names like Medlock, receiver Weston Dressler, and defensive backs Chris Randle and Maurice Leggett as potential free agents.

QB Matt Nichols said he's determined to sell the team to all the free agents and convince them to come back.

"I'm definitely going to be a salesman and try and keep everyone here," he said. "And I feel like we have a really good thing going here. I feel like we took a big stride from last season."

The mood in the locker room Monday was both sombre and determined, with players both lamenting Sunday's 39-32 playoff loss to the Edmonton Eskimos, and proud of what they did accomplish this season.

We've built something special and we're hungry ... we're getting better each and every year.- Maurice Leggett

"We've built something special and we're hungry," said Leggett. "That much closer. Last year, we made the playoffs [for the first time] in a very long time, and the outcome wasn't good, and this year, we hosted a home playoff game, and so you know, we're getting better each and every year."

Keeping the core group of players intact is on everyone's mind, he added. 

"You have guys, if they don't want to be here, it just messes up the chemistry. We don't want that, they don't want that, you just have to find a place to be happy.

"It's a business, we all understand that, but it's also a family here, and we want to be together."

"We built something special here. It's a nice core here," said Randle. "This team got stronger than last year, and last year was a pretty strong team."

Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols (15) throws to an open receiver against the Edmonton Eskimos during first half CFL western semifinal action in Winnipeg Nov. 12, 2017. (John Woods/Canadian Press)

Nichols' broken finger

With the season over, Nichols went into more details about his injuries during the last third of the season and revealed he played several weeks with a broken finger.

"It was extremely painful basically all up my hand. Aside from that, just walking around I didn't really feel it. When I applied pressure on the ball and when the ball left my hand it was pretty painful.

"Last night was definitely the best it's felt."

A strained calf that Nichols suffered near the end of the season was the reason he sat out the regular-season finale. 

His teammates said they weren't surprised he pushed through the pain.

"We see Matt every day. We know what he's about. I've said countless times, he's our leader," said Randle.

"We see what he represents and how much he wants to be out there for us as a team you know. Going through all those [injuries], it's just another testament to what he means for our team and for our organization."