This is the online video that shows Drew Willy has bolstered his repertoire of moves – at least off the football field.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers starting quarterback got married in Rochester, N.Y., in April and he and his wife, Hillary, broke out into a choreographed dance during the reception. They were joined by their bridal party.
It was all his wife’s idea, Willy explained with a laugh after Winnipeg’s practice on Thursday.
“She was a former dancer in her time and it was something she wanted to do,” he said, adding Hillary, a registered dietitian, was a cheerleader for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills for one season.
“When she wanted to do it, it’s hard to say no to the woman you’re marrying. You want to do everything you can on that day to give her whatever she wants.”
Some of his buddies were a bit shocked, but they went along with it.
“We got a good kick out of it,” Willy said. “It went on the Internet. I’ve gotten a lot of razzing, but a lot of guys said I did a good job.”
The video also drew some wisecracks related to football, such as Willy needing to be nimble as the Bombers gave up a CFL-high, franchise-record 71 sacks last season. Willy hit the turf for 66 of those.
Willy, 28, is feeling a lot more comfortable heading into his second year with the team, and it’s not just because his personal life is more settled.
He proved last season he deserved to be the team’s starting quarterback with his leadership skills and was given a contract extension on May 1 that takes him through 2017.
The Bombers finished last year with a 7-10 record. Willy completed 63.8 per cent of his passes for 3,769 yards (third most in the league) and threw 14 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
To help keep him more upright and focused this season, the club has overhauled its offensive line with the signings of veterans such as centre Dominic Picard and tackle Stanley Bryant.
Willy said he’s motivated as Winnipeg is hosting this year’s Grey Cup, plus he’s confident in the team’s preparations.
“We put a lot of stuff in (the playbook) so far,” he said. “I think it’s just Year 2, on offence at least, with coach (offensive co-ordinator Marcel) Bellefeuille we know what we need to accomplish and it’s fun to be a part of.”
Head coach Mike O’Shea said Willy didn’t need to be asked to work on specific things in the off-season because the quarterback already had a plan of attack.
“He’s thought about leadership, he’s worked out harder, he’s studied his plays, he’s looked at the film, he’s put more thought into his approach to the game,” O’Shea said. “He’s looked at it all.”
Bombers veteran slotback Clarence Denmark, who led the team with 1,080 yards receiving last season, said Willy’s strength is his consistency.
“Everyone can count on him and know what he’s going to do, know he’s going to lead us and make the right plays, make the right throws on the field,” he said.
And he saw Willy’s dance video and was impressed with his off-field moves.
“It was cool,” Denmark said with a smile. “That’s always a fun time, a special day you’ll never forget and you want to just let loose and have fun.”
It remains to be seen if the Bombers can do the same on the field and end their 24-season Grey Cup drought, the longest active one in the league.