Stamp bolts for the NFL

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

Suddenly, the Calgary Stampeders are no longer deep at running back and returner.

Backup David Allen left the club yesterday to sign with the St. Louis Rams of the NFL.

Allen, who came to the club in early October, had a special clause in his contract allowing him to explore NFL options if the situation arose even before the CFL season was finished.

The departure leaves the Stamps shorthanded as they prepare for West Division semifinal against the Edmonton Eskimos Sunday at McMahon Stadium (4 p.m.).

"It's a sticky deal," said Allen from St. Louis.

"It leaves a bad taste as far as the timing ... It was a move that was best for me personally. I hate the fact it happened when it did but this is the reason why my contract was structured the way it was, to give me the opportunity to get back into the NFL."

Allen played 19 games over the past three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, leaving him six games from cashing his NFL pension -- another reason he couldn't pass up the offer.

"This is my dream and I hope to do the things that I was able to do in the short time in Canada," Allen said.

The 27-year-old was first brought in as a returner to replace Terrence Wilkins when he was out with an knee injury. He emerged as another offensive threat in four games, rushing for 86 yards on 13 carries for a 6.6-yard average and catching five passes for 84 yards.

He had one touchdown receiving and one rushing in giving starter Joffrey Reynolds a breather, while also presenting defences a challenge when both were on the field.

In Sunday's 43-23 win over the Eskimos, Allen rushed four times for 36 yards and caught two passes for 44 yards.

Stamps head coach Tom Higgins wasn't happy to see Allen go but expected this to happen when the club signed him.

"The only way we would get him for the period of time we had him was to live up to our end of the bargain," Higgins said.

"Where we needed him was for returns. He just happened to be a running back. (Offensive co-ordinator) Steve Buratto always uses weapons and he was put in there to give Reynolds a break.

"It's tough to lose somebody but it's no different than losing him to an injury. We lost him back to the NFL. Now we have somebody to cheer for with the St. Louis Rams."


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