Alberta boy hot property

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

Don't be surprised if the Calgary Stampeders make a bold bid to latch onto Hamilton Tiger-Cats receiver Brock Ralph when the sure-handed Alberta boy becomes a free agent in the off-season.

The 25-year-old Raymond, Alta., product, older brother to Stamps rookie wide receiver Brett Ralph, 23, has close ties to Calgary head coach Tom Higgins, an unabashed fan of both players.

The two brothers will meet on the turf tonight when the Ticats visit McMahon (7 p.m.).

The 6-ft. 3-in., 190-lb., Brock, who earned an NFL tryout this year and one pre-season look with the New York Jets, was acquired from Ottawa by Higgins' Eskimos during the 2003 Canadian College Draft.

After returning to Edmonton from New York earlier this season, Brock was traded to Hamilton in late August.

He is a much lankier version of his little brother, a 5-ft. 10-in., 175-lb., target already in Stamps silks after being selected last spring by Higgins, now the football boss in Cowtown.

Brock made 49 grabs for 634 yards and two TDs in Edmonton last season and that success, coupled with his ties to Higgins, would suggest he will be on the Red and White's wish list this winter.

"The focus for me is to help the Ticats the last few games of the season," Brock said yesterday, demonstrating a flair for diplomacy while noting he'd love to be reunited with his brother.

"(Alberta) is home for me and that's a fact but there's a lot that goes into free agency when that comes up. There's speculation I want to be out here and this is where I'll end up.

"But until things are in front of me on the table, it's hard to say if even I know for myself."

Higgins said both Ralph brothers provide a steady pass-catching presence, not to mention Canadian birth certificates.

"Brock is a big body that runs really well," Higgins said.

"The whole Ralph family has really good hands, although they all have different body types. Brock was blessed with the height in the family. With our Brett, he was given other gifts.

"We knew what we were getting in Edmonton with Brock and it would have been a big disappointment had he not come through the way he's capable of playing."

Both players toiled at Wyoming, although Brett finished his college career with the University of Alberta Golden Bears.

"That's why Brett didn't get drafted until the sixth round because a lot of people didn't get a chance to see him," Higgins pointed out. "We went on the fact he's from the Ralph family."

Brock Ralph said the NFL dream and a huge U.S. paycheque are still a possibility despite the lure to again play in his home province.


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