Cowtown still QB's option

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:10 AM ET

Dave Dickenson believes it's inevitable: He will return to play in Calgary some day.

And had Casey Printers opted for Vancouver over Kansas City, the former Stamps quarterback said yesterday he would likely have had few options but to try accelerating that process.

"We've always established Calgary as a home base and I do think we will end up in Calgary at the end of it all, whether as home or as a Stampeder for a year or two," said the 2000 CFL MVP from his Valley Ridge home.

"If not a B.C. Lion I would have tried to get back to Alberta but there are no spots open. It would have been interesting to see how it would've turned out because I'm not going on any rebuilding missions. If I don't feel I have a legitimate chance to win the Grey Cup, I don't want to go to that city."

Understandably miffed the 24-year-old Printers was evidently coach Wally Buono's choice as starter this year in Vancouver, Dickenson's "him or me" stance would likely have forced Buono to trade him. But now that Printers is bound for the NFL and Dickenson will be the starter by default, Dickenson insists it will be business as usual next summer.

"I didn't like the way it was handled but it's not going to affect me or our relationship when I get back," said the 33-year-old Montanan.

"No one has ever claimed Wally is too close with his players. He doesn't try to be overly friendly with his guys -- he's a good businessman. If you look at his history, he's made a lot of tough decisions with his good players like in 2001 when he let Allen Pitts go. He's able to separate relationships from football. They were trying to go with the younger, flashier guy.

"I don't think he'd admit I wasn't his first choice but it did seem for the first time he had lost some confidence in me and they were leaning Casey's way."

After years of being 'Wally's guy,' Dickenson spent the off-season unable to get any commitment from Buono concerning his status among the two Lions quarterbacks. However, the three-year contract offered to Printers for roughly the same amount Dickenson is making ($400,000 annually) pretty much said it all. So, when the young malcontent told Wally he was heading south, the response was one of considerable relief for Dickenson, Buono and the players who backed the veteran for handling the controversy with class while Printers sulked.

"It wasn't going to work for us again," said Dickenson of their unhealthy co-existence.

"There was no real pecking order and I think in the long run that hurt us. I don't know if this 1 and 1A works with quarterbacks and goalies. The coaches need to be consistent and it's good for the players to know who the starter is, too. The tough part was at the end I couldn't get a straight answer as to where it was going. To me, they said they were going to go for Casey and then figure it out. Obviously, it worked out for the best for both of us. I didn't want to move."

Despite concussion and shoulder problems that ruined an 11-0 start and opened the floodgates on a controversy between the two former MVPs, Dickenson hopes the final two years of his contract in Vancouver will be followed by two or three more years in the CFL.

"I feel the best I've felt in a long time in the off-season, so I really feel pretty confident I could play another four or five years," said the former Stamp who lost two years in the NFL where he didn't play a down.

"I do want to play these next two in Vancouver and if I play well, I wouldn't be surprised if they do offer me an extension. That's when some of the stuff that happened this year would be in the forefront and I'd have to feel like they do want me. Now I'm relieved to be in the same situation."

No matter how much damage has been done.


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