Edmonton Eskimo quarterback Warren Moon rolled to his left, spotted Danny Buggs over the middle and delivered the ball straight into Bugg's hands. Buggs held the ball for a split second, then dropped it. Two plays later, the Eskimos ran the same pattern with the same result.
Some things never change, even if Danny Buggs' address has. These days, Buggs is running routes for the Eskimos in preparation for the Grey Cup, the Canadian Super Bowl, Sunday against the Hamilton Tiger Cats.
Less than a year ago, Buggs was running the same patterns for the Washington Redskins in preparation for teams like Dallas and Philadelphia. At the time, the Redskins were fighting for a playoff berth and Buggs was their leading receiver, with 46 receptions last season.
"Only God knows why I was traded," says Buggs. "I would like to go back to Washington. I love Washington. It's really bad for me that they're doing bad. I'm going to be a Washington Redskin ran forever.
"I called Coach (Jack) Pardee and wished him the best. They have to do what they have to do but we all make mistakes. I think it was a mistake on their behalf."
The Redskins, who felt he dropped too many passes and ran some rather strange pass routes, traded him to Tampa.He was released late in the pre-season with the explanation that he "was a victim of circumstances." Shortly thereafter, CFL perennial powerhouse Edmonton contracted him.
Buggs had to adapt to a new culture, a new lifestyle and a different game. The Canadian game has a much wider field, 12 players on a side, a 20-yard end zone and only three downs.
"I adjusted pretty well," Buggs said, "but not as well as I would have liked. Canadian football is not NFL football. The NFL is where I want to be."
As for the culture: "It's been a difficult experience. Coming to Canada and being way out in Alberta has taken its toll on me. I miss my wife and my kids. It's just been an experience. I haven't seen them in six weeks. It's very hard. It's something I wouldn't go through continuously. I'm a family man. My kids are four and two and I miss a lot of their growing up. When I had to leave like that, it's difficult."
In addition, Buggs was joining Canada's premier team midway through its season. While making the transition to Canadian football, Buggs dropped some passes, just like he did in Washington. Despite three touchdowns in the last five games, the ones he didn't catch brought on criticism.
Buggs has yet another problem. He may not even be on the roster for Edmonton's most important game. Several of the team's injured stars are almost healthy again and, because of the rule limiting the number of Americans on each team to 15, Buggs may have to be a spectator.
"I've learned a lot of patience," he said. "I've learned how to continue encouraging myself. It's gotten very lonely and discouraging sometimes."
Buggs has received plenty of moral support from Gregg Butler, the former Howard University star. Born and raised in Washington, Butler has endured more than his share of difficult experiences.
He played for the WFL's Philadelphia Bell for a while in 1976, and then hopped around with the Rams, Eagles and then Rams again for the rest of the year. In 1977, he headed north to Edmonton and has been a Canadian all-star three straight years.