Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros spoke to media Tuesday, a day after signing a two-year deal with the team he led to its first Grey Cup victory in nearly 30 years.
During the media conference, the team announced it will release former first-string quarterback Matt Nichols.
Bombers GM Kyle Walters told reporters deciding which way to go on starting quarterback wasn’t easy.
“It was gut-wrenching,” he said.
“Ultimately, down the stretch, with the way that Zach played at that level — getting us over the hump, winning a Grey Cup — I believe earned him first right of refusal in regards to the offer.”
Collaros, 31, started four games for Winnipeg after first-string QB Nichols was injured. He played the last regular-season game, two playoff games and ultimately the Grey Cup championship.
On Monday, the team announced it had signed a two-year extension with Collaros, who had been scheduled to become a free agent in February.
‘Obviously, you just want to win’
Collaros said he was happy to have gotten a deal done, telling reporters he and his wife discussed their next steps with family when they headed home for American Thanksgiving, shortly after the Grey Cup game.
He said everyone seemed to agree, signing with the team was a “no-brainer.”
“I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t hoping to get something done here,” he said, acknowledging the possibility of other options had he gone to free agency.
“Obviously, there are other factors that factor in, but this is also a job and you want to make a living, so you want to put yourself in the best situation to play well, and we thought this was the place.
“It was a no-brainer from a football standpoint.”
Collaros finished the 2019 post-season completing 45 of his 69 pass attempts for 630 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
He went 4-0 in his appearances in the Bombers’ last regular-season games before leading them undefeated through the post-season to a Grey Cup win.
Despite the steep expectations he’s likely to face from fans, Collaros said he’s ready to face the pressures of being the team’s new starter.
“Obviously, you just want to win,” he said.
“We’ll set goals here once we get moving, but I’m really excited to get started — but obviously the expectation is to win — and I couldn’t ask to be around a better group of guys to do that with.”
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