Sliding into Stamps lineup

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:27 AM ET

Launching a bobsled down an icy run would still be no problem.

Squeezing into a seat while it hurtles down the Canada Olympic Park track? Now, that would be interesting.

"I'd have to lose a bunch of weight, for sure," said Stampeders free agent Randy Chevrier, a Montreal native, more focused these days on winning a starting job on the defensive line than pursuing Olympic dreams.

"When I had my tryout with Bobsled Canada in '99, my second-to-last year at McGill, it went really well but you have to remember I tested as a 260-pound, guy. Now I'm 285-290 pounds.

"Since then, maybe they've found a better way to make a bigger guy fit into the sled but I doubt it."

The nose tackle/long snapper was lured to Calgary as one of the first signings by Tom Higgins, Stampeders v.p. of football operations.

Chevrier was drafted in 2001 by the Eskimos when Higgins was still a fixture at the Igloo, winning a Grey Cup together in 2003.

Although he signed with the New York Jets the following year, Chevrier was released after the pre-season and never played until arriving in Stampeders training camp this spring, a signing Higgins claims is as important as any other this season.

His precision on long snaps and steady play at nose tackle assures him a spot on the d-line, rotating with third-year non-import starter Sheldon Napastuk.

"I take pride in my long snaps and it's something I don't take for granted," said Chevrier, whose team never had a botched snap in five seasons at McGill.

"As much work as I've put into the weights and my d-line stuff, I've put into snapping. I do at least an hour a day in the off-season. I'll learn how to kick if I have to. I don't take anything for granted."

While Chevrier, 28, has likely walked away from COP's bobsled track for good, he suggests the training regime for both sports is remarkably similar based on leg strength and quickness.

"What I liked about it, whether I could make the team or not, the training is the same as we do for football. There's a lot of crossover, which is really interesting. They do all the same types of lifts, very power-based. A lot of speed-based weight training and agility, too."

When not firing precision snaps in the punting drills yesterday, the 6-ft. 3-in. Chevrier was impressing in one-on-ones against the offensive line, honing his technique under line coach Casey Creehan.

"I feel pretty good this year and things are coming together but, like coach Creehan says, if it's not perfect, it can be improved," said Chevrier, who turned down an attractive offer from his hometown Alouettes.

"That's what we're trying to do each day and that's what camp is for.

"I like his style of coaching because it's very technique oriented and that's what a lot of guys need. I think some people take for granted that when they get to the professional level they assume everybody knows the proper technique. If you get everybody on the same page like Casey's doing with us, we're starting to gel as a group and camp has just started."

The Chevrier/Napastuk combination will allow the Stampeders to start a Canadian defensive lineman again this season, while their rotation would ensure a fresh pair of legs to chase down opposing quarterbacks.

"We're pretty good because we've been around each other in the off-season, we've trained together in the off-season, too," Chevrier said.

"We both work at Jim Barker's school, so we have a really good rapport -- good chemistry. We talked about it in the off-season that we both have the same mentality.

"We're coming in here to be starters but we don't have egos in that however it plays out, we know that if we're both playing that nose spot we've got to both be ready. If one of us goes down, the coaches shouldn't have a doubt that the other guy can go in and do the job just as well."


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