Buck Pierce, a 2000 graduate of Del Norte High School, has been traded amid speculation that his time as a starting quarterback in the Canadian Football League may be over.
"Who knows what the future will bring for me?" Pierce, 31, said during a news conference this week in Winnipeg. "I don't know if I'll play one year, two years, three years - if I'll ever take another snap again."
He spoke after the Winnipeg Blue Bombers announced they had traded Pierce back to the British Columbia Lions, the team he played for as a backup quarterback when it won a Gray Cup title in 2006.
Pierce had an injury-filled first year with Winnipeg in 2010, when he dislocated the humerus in his throwing elbow and bone chips were found.
He bounced back in 2011 and played in 16 of 18 regular season games. The Bombers lost to the B.C. Lions 34-23 in the 2011 Grey Cup in Vancouver, a game attended by many Del Norte fans. That season was Pierce's best since joining the CFL in 2005. He had record career-high numbers in many categories, including starts (16), completions (261), attempts (411), passing yards (3,348) and rushing yards (324).
He has started 66 games in his career and left 25 of them early due to injuries.
"Barring calamity at the position in Vancouver, or elsewhere, his days as a starter appear to be over, at age 31," Winnipeg Sun columnist Paul Friesen wrote Wednesday. "More likely, he'll end his career as a sounding board, a coach in pads, all that competitive fire smothered under the blanket of practice and meeting rooms."
"My mindset is to play football until they tell me to stop," Pierce said. "I do want to be involved when I'm done. I have a lot to offer, but that time's just not now. I've got some good snaps left in me."
"Football aside, it's been a great thing for me to be here in the city and be involved in this community," Pierce told the Winnipeg media. "I can't thank the fan base and the organization enough for what they've done for me and my family. I also wanted to say that Winnipeg is my home and it's a place that I want to be and I will be here in the off-season and call it home. Hopefully some day in the future I can be back in some aspect of the organization."
The son of Tim and Connie Pierce, he was a three-year starter at Del Norte, guiding the Warriors to a 16-4 record as a junior and senior.
He passed for 2,225 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior in 1999, earning Big 5 Conference Most Valuable Player honors for the second consecutive season. He broke the school's single-season and career records for both passing yardage and passing touchdowns in 1999. He threw for 2,010 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior in 1998 and 1,180 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore in 1997.
He then started at quarterback at New Mexico State University before turning pro.