Tiller's timing terrific

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

Timing is everything for a defensive back and it would seem Tony Tiller has plenty of the good kind.

Reading a quarterback's eyes and making the right jump can mean the difference between being employed or not for a member of the secondary.

Now that Tiller is working his trade with the Calgary Stampeders, he can laugh about his great timing on and off the field.

With the B.C. Lions last year -- a rookie season in which he made four interceptions -- Tiller played the entire season while awaiting the birth of his first child.

Tiller's wife, Tiffany, was ready back in Atlanta and the Lions were finishing up the regular season.

So he went straight from the stadium, hopped on a plane made it back just in time for the entire event.

"It was amazing. It changes your life," said Tiller of his son, Bryson, who now is seven months old.

"Now whenever things get tough out there, I can just think of about them.

"It's a good source of inspiration."

There was also a bit of good timing involved in how Tiller ended up in Calgary.

With an abundance of defensive backs in Vancouver, the Lions had to release someone.

As the deep back, Tiller became expendable because of the addition of CFL interceptions leader Korey Banks.

The Stamps had a need in that area and jumped at the chance to get him to use in their dime coverage.

The plan worked in the first game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, as Tiller jumped in front of a Jason Maas pass and returned it 31 yards.

"The offensive coaches are glad he's here because they don't have to face him anymore," said Stamps head coach Tom Higgins.

"That's the best compliment you can pay a player."

Although Tiller has only spent one year in the league, the 24-year-old plays with a veteran's knowledge of the defensive packages.

He immediately starting passing along tips to fellow defensive backs and Jermaine Chatman is one who has benefitted.

Chatman is the nickelback and he and Tiller have worked well together in deep coverage where communication is key. If Tiller wouldn't have picked off Maas, the ball would have hit Chatman.

"He really taught me a few things when he got here," Chatman said.

"He really knows how to square up and stick with a guy."

Tiller was surprised when he was released by the Lions.

He kept his faith that someone would call and was rewarded for being patient.

"I love playing the game and making plays," Tiller said.

"If I wasn't making plays, I might not play the game. If I'm not out there making plays it would feel weird because I've been doing it all my life."


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