Troy Westwood - Kicker - Augustana College - 1991-07, 09
Canada Press - June 2009
The Troy Westwood era with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is over.
The team released the 41-year-old kicker on Sunday, ending his 17-year career in Winnipeg. The native of Dauphin, was the team's sixth-round draft pick in the 1991 CFL Canadian college draft and hasn't played for anyone else since.
"Troy Westwood has represented so much of what is right about the Blue Bombers organization," Winnipeg president and CEO Lyle Bauer said in a statement. "What an extraordinary career, 17 years. Troy has been a consummate professional and has represented this team so well.
"Troy leaves a remarkable legacy with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and we thank (him) for nearly two decades of service."
Westwood appeared in 278 career games, including four Grey Cup contests. He was stellar in the Bombers' 23-19 Grey Cup loss to Saskatchewan in November in Toronto, punting 11 times for nearly a 50-yard average and connecting on both of his field goal attempts.
However, in recent years Westwood had come under fire for his inconsistency on field goals. Last season, he made 20-of-33 field goals attempted (60 per cent) after making 30-of-43 (69 per cent) in 2006.
The Bombers decision to release Westwood comes just three days after he missed a 42-yard field goal in Winnipeg's 12-10 exhibition loss to Hamilton.
After 17 years of up-and-down field goal kicking, Troy
Westwood was released by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday. Westwood holds more than 30 team records, but doesn't expect to be contacted by any teams for a contract.
"I'm not retiring, but I'd be surprised to get a call from anyone. I'd be open to the idea but I'm not expecting that." said Westwood. Bombers Coach Doug Berry said that the team needs a "more reliable kicker". Westwood had a 60% completion record this year.
Bombers General Manager Brendan Taman suggested that Westwood retire, but that comment was not taken too well. "I knew the answer I was going to get, and I can't repeat it ... it was declined, I'll say that," Winnipeg reporters were told by Taman.
Westwood looks forward to the future, even as wearing Blue Bombers jerseys as a fan and not a player. Westwood plans to be touring with his band, Little Hawk, who were nominated for the Juno's "Aboriginal Recording of the Year", in 2007.
"This is a new beginning," said Westwood. "A number of opportunities are going to make themselves present to me because football has probably come to an end. And I think football has put a lot of aspects of my life on hold for a number of years.So this is a new beginning, it's a new chapter, and I look forward to it, all the new challenges and opportunities that will be coming my way."
excerpt - Jim Bender - Winnipeg Sun - April 5, 2011
Westwood was one of the most popular Bombers during his 18 seasons and it was his tongue-in-cheek comment about the Saskatchewan Roughriders that led to the naming of the Banjo Bowl. But his career ended in controversy after some well-chronicled clashes with former head coach Doug Berry, particularly in 2007.
"If I were to take one single game - there are all sorts of highlights - but the '07 Grey Cup, just for what was endured during the year and then for us to be in that position," Westwood said. "I guess, just as a swan song, I guess it was my last official game with the team. So, I will remember it well. But there were so many memories over 18-19 years, it's hard to point out them all."
Actually, Westwood was lured back to play a couple of games in 2009 and was not ready to give up the ghost even last year. But being inducted into the hall may have finalized it for him.
"I suppose, when your career is done, it's the greatest honour you can have, for sure," Westwood said. "It's hard to believe that I actually played for the Bombers. It was a life-long dream as a kid and to look back on it, it was just a tremendous honour . and to go in with a good friend (Miller) is just a cherry on top. It's hard to verbalize how neat it is to get in there."
Westwood spent 18 seasons with the Bombers and is the club's all-time leading scorer with 2,748 points. He actually holds numerous club records, including most field goals (617), most converts (732), including a CFL record 657 straight point-afters. Westwood was named a CFL all-star in 1992 and a divisionall all-star three times. He was also Winnipeg's Most Outstanding Canadian three times.