Stamps get Flames tag

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

Considering the Calgary Flames collapsed under the weight of great expectations, what can we expect from the CFL Stampeders?

Sports fans have tucked away their Flames jerseys for another season, turning their attention to the football squad that surprised everyone with an 11-7 showing in 2005, only to fumble away their opportunity in the West semifinal.

With training camp two weeks away, CFL observers are already tabbing the Stamps Grey Cup contenders.

Sound familiar?

What remains to be seen is how the Stampeders, suddenly thrust into the role of contenders, react to their rising stock.

According to Tom Higgins, head coach/v.p. of football operations, being stamped with the contender label is something every team wants.

"There's nothing wrong with having high expectations because you can't succeed if you don't believe you're going to succeed," Higgins said during yesterday's nation-wide CFL State of the Franchise conference call.

"Having spent a number of years in Edmonton, every year they feel they can win a Grey Cup, so that's not a bad thing to have high expectations. But the most important thing is, are they willing to pay the price to get where they were (last year) by the end of the football season? I'll only know that when we get onto the football field.

"I do know that our coaches will tear them back down. They haven't done anything. What you did last year doesn't mean a thing.

"One thing the football team did not have last year was it had very little playoff experience and maybe it showed in the second half."

Yesterday the club continued making moves, releasing backup quarterback Jason Gesser and three other players to free space for new players for training camp.

Gesser's release was expected after the recent addition of veteran QB Danny McManus, who will serve as No. 2 man behind starter Henry Burris.

"From everything that we saw, we came to the decision we needed an experienced No. 2 quarterback and when Danny McManus became available we (traded for him)," Higgins said.

Gesser joined the team last season completing 23 of 42 passes (54.8%) for 356 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions.

Gesser's release comes with a high price as the Washington State product and former Tennessee Titan cost the Stamps a first-round draft pick last May to acquire his CFL rights.

The Stamps also announced yesterday the release non-import receiver Mike Juhasz, Canadian db Lawrence Deck and non-import o-lineman David De La Perralle.


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