Grace eager to sign a deal

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:18 AM ET

Pending free agent John Grace wants a deal. Tom Higgins would like to accommodate him.

And Higgins has told Grace the Calgary Stampeders would welcome him back. The two talked extensively Monday night but haven't gotten down to contract discussion.

"I leave the business stuff to my agent," the outstanding linebacker said. "Being a free agent isn't a priority for me. I would be forced into free agency. As far of wanting to be a free agent, testing the market, that's not my plan.

"But if business dictates that I need to be a free agent, we'll cross that bridge when we get there. I want to be back in Calgary."

Higgins took over as senior VP of football operations Friday and set about revamping the coaching staff.

One person stayed in place: Denny Creehan, the team's defensive co-ordinator who Grace considers a key ingredient to any success for the Stamps.

Since the ownership change, Higgins has been busy hiring and firing coaches and Grace was getting antsy.

But the new head coach considers signing the linebacker a top priority and Grace expects an offer in the next few days.

Now that the sale is complete and Creehan has received a promotion to assistant head coach, Grace wants to get training camp started and not worry about the free-agent window, which starts Feb. 15.

"It makes Calgary very attractive," Grace said. "Coach Creehan and his scheme is perfect for my style of play.

"If I come back to Calgary this year, it will be the first time in my CFL career to have the same defensive co-ordinator in two years back-to-back. I've never had a chance to settle in with a defence for two years.

"We're capable of going in and doing something really special because we don't need to relearn stuff."


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