Baker lends helping foot

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

When the announcement was made yesterday that Terry Baker had arrived at Calgary Stampeders training camp, the reaction was the same from everyone:

What a great pickup! Can he lace up his old kicking cleats for tomorrow's pre-season game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders?

The former all-Canadian punter was quick to dispel the rumour he's ending a three-year retirement.

Baker has joined the coaching staff for a week to tutor place-kicker Sandro DeAngelis and punter Burke Dales. He won't be donning a Stampeders uniform any time soon.

"This is a good chance for me to come in and learn about special teams from the coach's perspective," said Baker, who played 16 seasons with four teams, finishing in Montreal.

"I can also help some young guys and give them what I didn't have when I was starting. There weren't too many ex-players to help you back then. I feel I have a lot to offer, just from knowledge of how to kick the ball and what little things to work on."

Stamps GM Jim Barker, who was with the Als in Baker's final season of 2002, contacted the 43-year-old in the off-season to see if he'd be interested in coaching the rookie kickers.

He was. In fact, Baker has tutored players at St. Mary's University in Halifax for the past two seasons. This season, Baker is set to join the staff at Acadia University and he would like to some day coach special teams full-time.

Since retiring, Baker and his wife have run a gift shop in Lunenberg, N.S., just down the road from where he lives in his hometown of Bridgewater.

The CFL is bringing an exhibition game to Baker's neighbourhood next weekend and Halifax appears to be the frontrunner for a new team if the league expands.

If the CFL does put a team near him, Baker would like to have some experience.

So after arriving yesterday, he started evaluating punter Dales' kicking motion. In the next week, including during tomorrow's game, Baker will give Dales and DeAngelis some tips to help deal with pressure, consistency and mechanics.

The one thing he won't do is try to overhaul the kickers' techniques.

"I'm just coming in to help them work with what they have," Baker said.

"I'll make the odd suggestion to help them get where they want to get. Fundamentally, when you kick the ball, you have to have the shoulders square to the target. Everything else will take care of itself."

Baker went through about 20 pro training camps in his career and knows what it's like to be publicly scrutinized for making mistakes, which he always handled well.

Stamps special teams coach Craig Dickenson, himself a former place-kicker at Montana State, is thrilled to have Baker around.

"Having a real pro around like Terry helps us immensely," Dickenson said.

"He brings instant credibility with what he says."

EXTRA POINTS: Import receiver Tywan Mitchell was released yesterday ... Sitting out with injuries yesterday, all thought to be minor were: SB Mike Juhasz (hamstring), DB Jeremy Pearl (hamstring) and DB Lawrence Deck (knee).


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