Spotlight passes from Doug to Darren Flutie

November 24, 1994|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Sun Staff Writer

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Everyone knew that a Flutie would lead his team into the Grey Cup, but it wasn't supposed to be this one.

Instead of "The Magic Flutie," we get "The Other Flutie."

Doug Flutie, the Calgary Stampeders' star quarterback and three-time winner of his league's Most Outstanding Player award, was denied a berth in Sunday's championship game against the Baltimore CFLs when younger brother Darren caught a 4-yard touchdown pass with no time remaining to give the B.C. Lions a 37-36 victory in the Western Division final.

For a change, the receiver in the family is being showered with praise. Newspapers in Vancouver continue to run stories about "The Catch," as it has become known. Suddenly, Darren is in demand.

"I don't think it's all that important," he said of his notoriety. "I don't need to establish to other people that I'm separate from Doug. I know who I am. I know how I can play."

So does his coach. "We've got the right Flutie," said Dave Ritchie.

They almost let him get away, though. Rumors circulated much of the year that Flutie, who turned 28 last week, would be traded to Calgary, and a deal reportedly fell through at the last instant. But he went on to set a B.C. record with 111 catches during the regular season, then added 19 in two playoff games. He has 1,979 yards in receptions and 11 touchdowns in his first year at slotback.

But here's where the story takes a strange twist. Flutie's heroics last Sunday, which included a 23-yard grab that preceded the winning score, might have been his final moment, not just his finest.

His wife, Terri, is back home in Natick, Mass., expecting the couple's first child. Her due date is Saturday. If the baby comes before Sunday's kickoff at B.C. Place, Flutie will be confronted with the biggest decision of his life. Should he stay or should he go?

"She had a doctor's appointment [Tuesday] and everything seems to be fine," he said. "We think it will be at least another week. Hopefully, she'll hold off. I don't know if she has any control over that.

"I'll go home as soon as I can when she goes into labor, and if it happens this week, hopefully I'll be able to come back in time."

"We're hoping his wife holds on," said quarterback Kent Austin. "If there's a drug out there to do that, we'll take it."

If Flutie's season does end prematurely, at least he can savor that last drive. Down 36-31, B.C. needed to travel 67 yards in 1:25. Flutie caught three passes from backup Danny McManus, the last just a couple of feet beyond the goal line, between two Calgary defenders. That was his 11th reception, to go along with 164 yards and three touchdowns.

"I'm just trying to play the best I can week to week and help this team win," he said. "It's been a crazy year, a crazy last couple of games."

And what better way to cap it all off than with a Grey Cup championship and a new baby?

2& The Lions hope it's in that order.

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