Post-practice pack kick back

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:56 AM ET

The Calgary Stampeders have their own version of the Rat Pack.

There isn't singing involved, just talking. And while this group doesn't have a Frank, Dino or Sammy, there is a Joey.

After each practice at the CFL club's training camp, halfback Joey Boese, safety Wes Lysack and linebackers Scott Coe and Brian Clark relax in a circle on the turf while their teammates hit the showers.

Because of their 'lounge lizard' lifestyle, special teams co-ordinator Craig Dickenson has called the foursome the Rat Pack.

"We like to get back to reality after practice," said Boese.

"There's no rush to get inside because there's a line for the ice tub. We take our shoes and spats off and sit and talk for a little bit."

Sit back and smell the roses, if you will.

"It was 30 degrees out and you have hours of meetings ahead," Coe said of when they started. "We thought we should just take advantage of the sun while we can. The next thing you know, we were doing it every day."

The conversation ranges from light-hearted to philosophical.

"It snowballs. It could be a dirty joke that we start with, it could be a play that happened during practice," Coe said.

"It could be our plans in the future, whether it's a day ahead or a week ahead. As you can tell from the group, we don't usually get too deep.

"But it's a sacred thing for us. It's our time."

HOT TICKETS: Optimism about the on-field product has Stampeders season tickets selling at an impressive clip. The team has already sold more than 19,000 seats for the 2006 CFL season while Lee Genier, vice-president of business development, said about 500 premium tickets remain.

"We're selling 80 to 100 season tickets a day and sold 200 tickets (Monday)," Genier said.

WHITE RETURNS: George White jumped into the run-stop defence yesterday, much to the surprise of his teammates. The linebacker, who had off-season surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles' tendon, wasn't projected to return until three or four weeks into the season.

He was bashing offensive linemen yesterday during the afternoon session and appears way ahead of schedule.

"Each day I feel a little bit better and push it more," said White.

EXTRA POINTS: Receivers Nik Lewis and Jeremaine Copeland won't make the trip to Vancouver for tomorrow's pre-season tilt with the B.C. Lions. Head coach Tom Higgins wants to give the other receivers as many passes as possible for a complete evaluation. The quarterback situation isn't decided yet but third-stringer David Corley could play a half with veterans Danny McManus and Henry Burris a quarter each ... Yesterday was the final two-a-day practice scheduled during training camp.


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