Quarterback sacked before camp

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:03 AM ET

Quarterback Giovanni Carmazzi, 28, is the first victim of Calgary Stampeders training camp without even making it to Day 1.

Carmazzi had been one of four backup quarterbacks under contract competing for the No. 2 and 3 positions behind starter Henry Burris.

Although full camp doesn't begin until tomorrow, all five quarterbacks had been participating this week in McMahon Stadium workouts.

A third-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2000, Carmazzi signed as a free agent May 9 after spending last season with the B.C. Lions, dressing for the final 11 regular-season games and playoffs.

Stampeders head coach Tom Higgins had said five quarterbacks would be an unmanageable situation in camp, reducing the number of reps for everyone.

"It was a challenge and we knew we'd have to cut one early," Higgins said.

"We ended up making a tough decision earlier than we expected.

"Our initial thought was always to only have four but they were up and they were down. Somebody would be No. 2 and then he'd be No. 5, so it kept fluctuating.

"Gio appeared somewhat relieved and maybe his heart wasn't in it as much. He was having fun but telling him today maybe just reaffirmed it was a good decision."

Carmazzi's release also potentially opens up a spot for another player on the league- mandated 68-man training camp roster.

In addition to Burris, the remaining quarterbacks are Jason Gesser, Darnell Kennedy and Michael Souza with another one of those backups destined to be released before the end of training camp.

Meanwhile, Burris is making a strong impression on quarterbacks coach Bill Diedrick.

Diedrick said he expects his free-agent starter to improve on his turnover ratio from last season, during which the former Roughrider threw 18 interceptions along with 23 touchdowns.

"I looked at all of his film from last year in Saskatchewan and most of his interceptions came fairly early in the season," Diedrick said earlier this week.

"If you cut his season in half, in the second half, his touchdown-to-interception ratio was a lot better."

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'GADES SALE APPROVED: The CFL announced yesterday its board of governors approved a tranfer of ownership for the Ottawa Renegades.

The new partnership structure includes current owner Bill Smith of Orilla, Ont., and former Ottawa Rough Riders owner Bernie Glieberman.


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