Allen returns for long haul

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

It's getting crowded in the Calgary Stampeders' backfield.

The team yesterday announced the signing of import running back David Allen, who will share playing time with Joffrey Reynolds and Tony Stallings, while also competing for a special teams spot as a punt returner.

"That's what the NFL teams wanted him for -- as a punt returner," said Stamps GM Jim Barker, adding at least three clubs south of the border were in negotiations.

"Up here, that takes a while to learn and hopefully he learned a little last season and so we'll take a look at him as a returner."

Preventing Allen from packing up again this season is a two-year deal, plus an option, that will keep the 28-year-old in Red and White until at least 2008 when his NFL window of opportunity will have closed.

Barker brought Allen into camp for the last four games of 2005 as a replacement for injured returner Terrence Wilkins, who won't return to the club this season.

Allen bolted to the St. Louis Rams at the end of last season, missing the West semifinal, a provision the Stamps agreed to while in an injury bind.

"The deal last year where we agreed to let him go back was a special deal because of the whole Terrence Wilkins situation.

"He got hurt and we needed somebody else quick and he was the best guy out there," Barker said.

"We would never do that now. He is committed to us, loves being in Calgary and we're excited about having him back.

"David is more of a finesse back -- closer to a John Avery type -- in terms of being great out of the backfield, runs routes like a wide receiver.

"Joffrey is more of a true, tackle-to-tackle great running back. David is more of a hybrid, much like (former Montreal Alouette) Thomas Haskins. He can also be that single back back there and run the ball tackle to tackle. Maybe not game in and game out."

CFL game rosters have been expanded to 42 players this season, making Allen's addition possible without releasing Reynolds or Stallings.


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