Red and White now in fashion

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

As the crowd dispersed at his first official Calgary Stampeders news conference, Miguel Robede tried to sneak out with some team swag.

Communications director Kelsey Goldade outfitted the 2005 first-round pick in a nice Stamps warmup jacket to look good for the television cameras and Robede didn't want to take it off.

Clearly, the Laval product wants to be in Red and White for the foreseeable future.

"I'm happy to be here. I'm here to stay," said the defensive lineman. "I hope this year we can win the Grey Cup. Last year, they were really close."

A year ago it looked as though Robede might not make it to Calgary because he seemed to covet an opportunity in the NFL.

Upon being selected first overall by the Stamps in the 2005 draft, Robede announced he would stay in school another year to finish his degree, an idea the Stamps approved as long as he showed up eventually.

Yesterday was the day, as Robede signed his first pro contract and shared the spotlight with veteran quarterback Danny McManus, who also inked a deal with the Stamps after being traded to the team by Edmonton three weeks ago.

After the Rouge et Or were knocked out of the CIS playoffs against Saskatchewan, Robede worked hard finishing his degree and improving his jump off the snap.

"From January, I've been training a lot harder because I had more time," the 22-year-old said. "We trained about an hour and a half to two hours, six days a week.

"I think I can play end and nose. I just have to know my plays. I'll do my best and work hard in this camp to show what I can bring."

While Robede's spot in the lineup is much in doubt, McManus knows his role.

It seemed fitting the 17-year vet was brought in at the same time as a fresh-faced rookie. The pivot's job on this team will be to provide locker-room leadership as well as emergency backup for Henry Burris.

McManus' mentorship won't just extend to fellow QBs Burris, Jason Gesser and Danny Wimprine. If there is an opportunity to impart his wisdom on young guys such as Robede, he will pull him aside and talk. Being an example to young players should make McManus a valuable commodity.

"The big thing I offer is how to handle yourself not only on the field but off the field as well," McManus said. "Pro football is not an easy sport to do 24 hours a day. There's a lot of eyes watching you even when you don't think they are.

"If I see something that's not going in the proper direction, it's my responsibility to step up and say something. In 17 years, I've seen a lot of things and I've corrected a lot of things."

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Edmonton cut veteran DL Joe Montford in what is described as a salary-cap move, making the veteran the first major casualty of the new management system ... Saskatchewan signed non-import free agent SB Corey Grant to a one-year deal ... It appears Ricky Williams' only option this season is with the Toronto Argonauts, who have put the suspended NFLer on their negotiation list.


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