Veteran CFL quarterback Matt Nichols is over the hurt of being passed over by Winnipeg.
After Chris Streveler signed with the Arizona Cardinals, the Bombers’ choices for a No. 1 quarterback were narrowed to two candidates: Matt Nichols or Zach Collaros. General manager Kyle Walters and head coach Mike O’Shea decided to focus their efforts on inking Collaros to a two-year contract extension.
“I have definitely, completely moved on. It’s pretty clear that I’m one of those guys that just kind of sees the positives in everything. With all the things I’ve been through, this is just something else to me that you just have to deal with and not think too much about,” Nichols told Postmedia reporter Ted Wyman.
“I was having a career year (in 2019) and I just take that into my preparation to come back next year. I was really hitting my stride and I feel like I have my best football still in front of me.”
Nichols had an impressive 15-5 touchdown to interception ratio, but didn’t eclipsed the 300-yard mark a year ago. The six-foot-two, 211-pound passer was playing consistent football, completing more than 71 per cent of his passes when he was on the field.
Nichols left Winnipeg’s Week 10 win against B.C. last season favouring his right arm and shoulder. He was hurt when Shawn Lemon strip-sacked the QB in the fourth quarter of the Bombers’ 32-16 victory.
The 33-year-old went for an MRI and was placed on the six-game injured list. Winnipeg head coach Mike O’Shea originally said he expected Nichols to be ready for a return after four-to-six weeks, though it was later determined that the pivot needed surgery. The operation was performed on September 26, 2019, officially ending his season.
“I’m feeling the best I’ve ever felt, going into year twelve. Having this much time off to prepare and have my body back to one hundred percent has been good,” Nichols said alluding to the CFL cancelling its 2020 season.
“Looking at the bright side of it, I got to spend the whole summer with my kids and I’m getting to train young quarterbacks and pass along the knowledge while I have this extra free time.”
Toronto signed Nichols to a three-year contract through the 2022 season in February and, based on its financial commitment, the Argos were looking for him to be the starter. Winnipeg is in the rear-view mirror and Toronto is the focus for Nichols.