Crandell era over

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

Marcus Crandell will never play another game for the Calgary Stampeders.

The former Grey Cup MVP quarterback, who had been offered in a trade to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers prior to suffering a hand injury Friday night, is finished for the season and won't be re-signed.

Crandell, 30, has been relegated to cheerleader after smacking his throwing hand on the helmet of B.C. Lions linebacker Carl Kidd Friday night.

He left the game in the third quarter, replaced by backup Mike Souza, who led the team to a 22-21 win and will finish the season on the injured reserve list.

"I don't know. It's up in the air of course because I am a free agent (after this season)," a sullen Crandell said yesterday when asked about his future.

"I'll just come out here every day, every week and do what I can to help these young quarterbacks out to lead us to victory. That's my job now so that's what I'm going to do."

The Stampeders' acquisition of former CFL MVP Khari Jones yesterday leaves the team with five quarterbacks, making Crandell expendable.

First-year Stamps Mike Souza, Tommy Jones and Tommy Denison will compete for the backup job, although Souza is expected to start against the Argos Wednesday night.

Crandell signed with the Stampeders as a free agent before the 2001 season after former No. 1 pivot Dave Dickenson headed to the NFL's San Diego Chargers.

Despite finishing the 2001 season with an 8-10 record, Crandell led the Stampeders to their fifth Grey Cup title with a 27-19 win over a heavily favoured Jones-led Winnipeg team.

The Charlotte, N.C. product could land with another CFL club in the off-season, possibly earning a backup role.

"I'm not coming back this year, it's my throwing hand and it needs to heal back properly," Crandell said. "The doctor advised us to keep it in the splint and let it heal right."

SO WHATCHA SAY, STAMPEDERS?

"The things Khari (Jones) brings with him to the table, you expect him to make a difference right away. A guy like Khari, you can let him run the offence and let him do some different things that the younger guys can't do. He's been around a long time and is a seasoned veteran. A guy like that coming in, he commands respect because he's earned it. Hopefully, he can help us win."

-- centre Jamie Crysdale

"There's a lot of character gone now. A guy like Joe (Fleming) who shows up to play every day and practises as hard as he does, plays the game like it's his last. A guy like Reggie (Scott Regimbald) who understands everything and has been around for five years and a guy like Wes (Lysack), he's just caught up in a numbers game."

-- receiver Andre Arlain

"It's a good thing. I'm young, Tommy (Jones) and Tom Denison are young. With three of us young guys, you need some leadership. Khari's been around and done it all. Having those types of guys around is a positive thing. If it means less playing time or not, that really isn't an issue. It's an issue of trying to make this team better."

-- quarterback Michael Souza

"It's always hard to lose teammates, especially when you look at what this defence has done this year. Those guys are big parts of the family but I've been talking to Joe about it for weeks. He knew there was no point having five defensive linemen here when we needed help on the other side of the ball and I welcome the new guys here. We've got to pick up the slack with two leaders on defence gone but we've got the character in this group to do it."

-- defensive lineman Sheldon Napastuk

"All I know of Khari is what I've seen on TV and heard from defensive players who have played against him. I'm looking forward to meeting him and having a personal relationship with him."

-- receiver and kick returner Wane McGarity


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