January 6, 2021

Demski staying home

Winnipeg Blue Bombers WR Nic Demski celebrates his TD against the Edmonton Eskimos during first quarter CFL action in Winnipeg on Thursday, June 27, 2019. (CFL PHOTO - Jason Halstead)

Nic Demski jotting his name on a two-year contract extension with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is the kind of news that likely led to shoulder shrugs all across the Canadian Football League.

He’s a hometown product, after all, and the pride of Oak Park High School and the University of Manitoba. In addition, while he may have been drafted in the first round by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2015, he also migrated home at the first opportunity as a free agent in 2018.

“My family’s here, I bought a house here, so obviously Winnipeg is always going to be home,” Demski said Wednesday in a media conference call. “At the same time, this is just a great place to play. The atmosphere with the fans, everybody in the locker room as well… at the end of the day, football is a short-lived career so it’s about opportunity as well.

“All those factors I just talked about, they all really fit into my schedule and into what I want to do. It’s just a perfect fit.”

So, simply put, the question wasn’t so much if Demski would re-sign with the Bombers before the free agent market opened next month, but when. Still, here’s something to really munch on now that he’s officially back on the Bombers depth chart: After he found another gear with some super work in the 2019 Grey Cup run, what exactly is the ceiling for the gifted slotback?

“I think I have a lot more to give,” Demski said. “What I was doing in the playoffs I believe I can do that consistently throughout the year. I think the Bombers believe that as well, so that’s why it was a pretty easy decision for both sides for me to sign back here and extend. I think there’s a lot more I can give and I’m planning on giving a lot more as well.”

Former Bombers offensive coordinator Paul LaPolice, now the head knock with the Ottawa Redblacks, was a huge Demski fan and pushed to have the club sign him in ’18. His replacement, Buck Pierce, is also looking to tap into Demski’s skillset after seeing him finish third on the club in receiving yardage behind Kenny Lawler and Darvin Adams in 2019 and fourth in rushing after Andrew Harris, Chris Streveler and Johnny Augustine.

“(Pierce) said to expect a little bit more so, as a player that gets you excited,” said Demski. “Any receiver or running back is definitely lying to you if he said he didn’t want the ball more. I’m going to make sure I’m ready for the opportunity.

“That’s something the coaches and I have talked about, even after our Grey Cup run and in the exit meetings, on what they would expect of me in the year after that.”

Demski recently began taking financial planning courses with Freedom 55 Financial and so he’s chipping away at his life-after-football plan.

There was also a quiet confidence in his media chat Wednesday that suggests he is ready to take another step in his career. Drafted as a prospect, he signed here as somewhat of a project.

What’s next? Again, that’s an intriguing question heading into ’21.

“At the end of the day I’ve never been a selfish player, I play for my team first so whatever role I have to play or whatever I have to do within the gameplan I go out there and do it 100 percent,” said Demski. “That’s our mentality in the locker room – you’re playing for your team, you’re not playing for yourself.”

Six players, including Demski, have now come off the Bombers’ prospective free agent list, including right tackle Jermarcus Hardrick, No. 2 QB Sean McGuire, defensive tackle Jake Thomas, left tackle Stanley Bryant and defensive lineman Thiadric Hansen.

More, undoubtedly, are to come. To that end, Demski was asked if the team will still feel like the defending Grey Cup champs when it returns to the field this season.

“Oh yeah. For sure,” he said. “Until somebody beats us, that’s our trophy.”