November 17, 2022

“I’m ready to go. I’m ready to play.” – Zach Collaros

REGINA – Grey Cup Media Day November 17, 2022 PHOTO: Chris Tanouye/CFL

REGINA – There are still three more sleeps until the 109th Grey Cup, but Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans can exhale and step away from the panic button – quarterback Zach Collaros has declared he will start Sunday’s championship game against the Toronto Argonauts.

“I’m ready to go. I’m ready to play,” said Collaros during a Grey Cup media availability after missing his second straight day of practice. “I don’t like missing practice. Every rep is important, whether it’s a game rep or a practice rep. From the way that I see the game, I see the position, I think you should be practising. So, it’s tough.

“You don’t like being away from the guys. Especially in the last couple of days. It’s been pretty cold and windy. I wish I was out there suffering through it with them.”

Collaros, who twisted his right ankle with five minutes remaining in the Western Final win over the B.C. Lions, said he hoped to practice Friday, the club’s last full session before Saturday’s walk-through.

The Blue Bombers opted for Collaros to get treatment on his ankle over the last two days rather than further aggravate the injury. Dru Brown and Dakota Prukop handled he workload at practice over the last two days.

Pressed by a throng of reporters on media day for more details, Collaros said his mobility is ‘good’ and his foot ‘really good.’ Asked if he could put a percentage on his health, he added, “I’m not going to put a number on it. I appreciate the question, though. Again, I’ll be ready to go.”

In addition to getting treatment, Collaros has been diligently studying the Argos defence and their tendencies. Head coach Mike O’Shea said the frigid weather conditions were also a factor in keeping their star quarterback off his feet for a second straight day.

“I really think at this point Zach doesn’t need reps in practice,” O’Shea said. “In one of the practices he would have gotten only seven reps anyway, based on our plan. So it doesn’t matter at this point. He’s putting in the work he needs to put in to be ready. I fully expect him to play.”

The CFL’s reigning Most Outstanding Player – also up for the same award Thursday night – is a remarkable 32-4 in his starts since becoming a Blue Bomber, including the last two Grey Cup championships. Asked about the team’s mood at practice over the last two days without Collaros in attendance, O’Shea added:

“It’s pro football, it’s a contact sport, and there are guys missing from practice all the time. Obviously, Zach is a leader on our team, the leader, but it doesn’t really work like that for this group, at practice. They go out there and they put in the work for the guys that can’t in that moment.”

Also not practising on Thursday from last week’s Western Final lineup was DE Keion Adams (hip), while LB Shayne Gauthier (foot) was limited.

OFFICIALLY, THE OFFICIALS: The CFL announced Thursday that Dave Foxcroft will referee Sunday’s 109th Grey Cup. It will be his sixth Grey Cup game.