Please stay Denny!

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

Not surprisingly, the men who convert Denny Creehan's X's and O's into sacks and interceptions want the Calgary Stampeders defensive co-ordinator to return next season.

The mastermind behind the Stamps 3-4 defence is a candidate to fill the head coaching vacancy with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. That club has been given permission, as of today, to contact Creehan or anyone else on the Stampeders staff.

Stampeders president Ted Hellard yesterday reaffirmed the club's intention to retain its entire staff from its successful 2005 CFL season.

Creehan is expected to meet today with Stamps brass to discuss his future.

"We hope Denny Creehan stays as well," said Hellard.

"We believe our coaches, if they stay with us, stay with us because they want to stay with us," he added. "We don't want to restrict them from having other opportunities."

Linebacker John Grace, a candidate for CFL defensive player of the year, gives Creehan full credit for making the Stamps front-seven one of the CFL's most revered units.

"He is the key to our defence," said Grace.

"He comes up with all our schemes and he's the guy who puts us in position to make plays. It would be a big deal to lose him because now we've got a great defence built around a 3-4 system and to lose a 3-4 coach, who is going to come in to run it?

"We might have to change our whole philosophy on defence and we'd have to have different personnel.

"We don't want it to happen but this is not just a game, it's a business. This is the time of year for the business side of football to take over, so we'll see. It's a long off-season."

All-star tackle Sheldon Napastuk, who tied for the team lead with eight sacks, suggested the defence has yet to play its best and Creehan is a key in making that happen in 2006.

"The coaches are part of this family and part of this organization and I know people have to move on sometime for other career moves but I don't think it's going to happen," Napastuk said.

"From everything I've gotten from him, I don't think he has any intentions of leaving.

"We've been through a lot with him the last couple of years and I think this is the closest I've seen a staff and players."

INK 'EM: The Stamps have signed multi-year deals with import RB Tony Stallings, Canuck P Burke Dales, non-import WR Ken-Yon Rambo and Canuck LB Marc Calixte.


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