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Joffrey Reynolds is aided by assistant therapist Mike Gudmundson, left, and the team's head...

Joffrey Reynolds is aided by assistant therapist Mike Gudmundson, left, and the team's head therapist Pat Clayton after suffering a neck stinger earlier this season. (Calgary Sun File/Kevin Udahl)

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

A few years back, when Kelvin Anderson was eclipsing the 1,000-yard rushing barrier every season, the running back made a promise.

If he ever went over the 1,500 mark, the entire Calgary Stampeders offensive line would receive new leather jackets. The gifts never arrived, because in Anderson's best season of 2001, he only ran up 1,383 yards.

Left guard Jay McNeil remembers this story because Joffrey Reynolds is on pace -- if he stays healthy -- to easily surpass the 1,500-yard mark.

Reynolds suffered a slight knee sprain a week ago but has been doing his usual thing at practice in the past few days and will be looking to add to his season total of 1,123 yards against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Friday.

The linemen have made Reynolds look good this season and vice versa. So the 25-year-old knows he'll need to pony up when it's all said and done.

"I've been thinking about it," Reynolds said. "I will do something for them before the year is out. They take care of me. Very rarely do I have to make defensive lineman miss."

The Stampeders offensive line has taken unfair criticism for two seasons of lacklustre rushing numbers with a variety of backs. The problem wasn't the blocking but the inconsistency of rushers such as Lawrence Phillips, Saladin McCullough and Victor Ike.

Reynolds solved the problem immediately upon joining the club late in 2004. Not only does he hit the holes with authority, the Houston product has started every game despite leaving a few contests after punishing collisions with opponents.

The Stamps added Alexandre Gauthier at left tackle this off-season but the other four players -- McNeil, centre Jamie Crysdale, right guard Taylor Robertson and right tackle Jeff Pilon -- have been together more than two seasons.

McNeil said the fact Reynolds has already passed the 1,000-yard mark -- the gold standard for running backs -- is a source of pride for the linemen.

"A lot of people use that as a measuring stick on how well the offensive line has done," said the 12-year veteran. "It's a credit to him on how good he is as a runner but I think we've done a good job as well. When you put the two together, it's been nice for our offence."

The next goal is to open holes to allow Reynolds to lead the CFL in rushing yards, which would be a first for a Stampeder.

"They've done a great job," he said. "They take great pride in getting me through and giving me looks for places to go. They give me lots of decisions."


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