Draft dodger

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:50 PM ET

Red faces around McMahon Stadium are usually reserved for game day.

But they were plentiful among Stamps brass yesterday after discovering top draft pick Miguel Robede will not be coming to training camp just a month away.

The defensive lineman, chosen first overall Thursday by Stamps GM of player personnel Jim Barker, will return to Laval this fall.

Robede said yesterday he plans on finishing his administration degree while playing a fourth season with the Rouge et Or.

His pro football future is uncertain.

But Tom Higgins, Stamps head coach/v.p. of football operations, insisted Robede is not a wasted pick.

"There's a whole bunch of people in the CFL who would have been caught by surprise as well and a whole lot of people might be laughing at us," Higgins said.

"The fact of the matter is we're not really hurt that much by it because we have two very good Canadian defensive linemen and he was going to be the third.

"All the right things were done and this really hasn't happened in my more than 20 years in the CFL. It's truly unique in the CIS. In the NCAA, once players declare themselves for the draft, they can't go back to school. Once you're in the NFL draft, your college playing days are over."

Higgins said the Stampeders brain trust wasn't negligent in picking Robede because they met with the top prospect last month at the CFL combine in Ottawa. At the time, Higgins said Robede declared to Barker and defensive co-ordinator Denny Creehan his intention to attend CFL training camp.

"Jim Barker and Denny Creehan sat him down in a closed room, talked to him and, after the workout was done, I talked to him," Higgins said.

"We did our due diligence. There was nothing else we could have done to prevent this."

The Stamps were also playing coy leading up to the draft, entertaining offers to trade the top selection right up to the deadline, precluding them from signing Robede.

Robede thanked the team at a Laval press conference for drafting him first overall.

"My decision not to take part in the Stampeders camp (is based on) my wishes to continue and finish my bachelor of administration degree," said Robede, 23, who could still check into camp next season.

Robede denied he intends to enter the

NFL draft next year and said his father impressed on him the importance of finishing his university degree. "I don't want to go to the training camp just to get experience and not make the team," Robede said.

- - -

POINTS AFTER: The Stamps have signed free-agent import defensive end Rahim Abdullah, a three-year veteran of the Eskimos ... Starting May 24, two-game mini-packs of white section tickets will be made available for $49 plus GST. Fans can choose either the Saskatchewan game July 23 or the Edmonton Labour Day contest Sept. 5 along with their second white section ticket to any other regular-season home game.


Videos

Photos