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In Winnipeg, Walters agonized over the clock, and the 4 p.m., Central Time, deadline. Finally, Murphy called again, the deal very much alive.
“It was getting awfully close to the deadline,” Walters recalled. “I’ve got the CFL office on another line and I’m saying, ‘Hey, this is getting’ close. How do we get this done? What’s the timeline?’ Trying to make sure that they’re aware of it, and what exactly do you need?
“We almost had a countdown clock going.”
Walters wrestled with Murphy’s final demand: the third-round pick, plus a first-rounder if the Bombers end up signing Collaros to a new contract.
“There was no time to bounce it off anybody,” Walters said. “The guys were on the phone and they could hear, but there really was no time. I know a first-round pick’s big to give up in the Canadian draft and we’ve never done it and we’ll never make a habit of doing it.
But… if we’ve got Grey Cup rings and we don’t get a first-round draft pick, then that’s not a bad deal.
“I said to hell with it. We’re doin’ it. And the deal was done.”
Or was it?
There was no time to write up the formal paperwork.
Walters scrambled to compose an email with the basic details, asking Murphy to simply reply with “I agree,” while copying the league office.
“And the league accepted that,” Walters said. “It was a very stressful situation. It came right down to the last minute.”
“We made the trade literally at the trade deadline. Am I hitting send or not?” Murphy added.
But he wasn’t feeling the pressure Walters was.
“We sucked,” he said. “If I was stressed, I sure wasn’t stressed about that. We’re still in last place whether we made the trade or not.”
Collaros would turn out to be just what the Bombers needed.
And those wild last few minutes at the deadline would turn out to be a sign of things to come, as the Bombers embarked on a high-wire act to history.
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