Ready to catch grief in Regina

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:24 AM ET

For some reason, some men in green believe the grass in Calgary is greener.

It'd help explain why free agents tend to drift from the Saskatchewan Roughriders to the Calgary Stampeders at the rate of one or two a season.

Receiver Elijah Thurmon punched his ticket to Calgary this off-season and, after three games with the Stamps, is confident he made the right decision to bolt from Regina.

The 'Riders didn't make a great offer to Thurmon after his all-star campaign, which included leading the team with more than 1,000 yards receiving.

"I don't want to get into all that stuff," said Thurmon, who will face his former teammates for the first time Saturday in Regina.

"It's in the past now. I like it here better, that's all I can really say. I'm happy to be here and I'm ready to go play this game."

Thurmon wasn't the first to leave Regina for Calgary and he certainly won't be the last.

Thurmon joined former 'Riders Henry Burris, Sheldon Napastuk, George White and Demetrious Maxie in the Stamps' locker-room.

Publicly, Thurmon is treating his return to Regina like any other week, preparing for a defence he knows well and getting in tune with his quarterback.

Privately, it's a different matter, as Thurmon would certainly like a great performance to show 'Riders GM Roy Shivers he made a huge mistake by not offering a more lucrative bid for his services.

"I'm always excited to play," said Thurmon, who has 10 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown in three games this season.

"I'm excited to step on that field and hear the booing. I saw the reaction they gave Hank last year.

"We'll see what happens. I'll be focused on what I need to do."

Fellow Stamps newcomer Scotty Anderson sits next Thurmon in the locker-room and it has become clear to him this is more than just a regular game.

"He's been talking about it all week," said Anderson, who made his regular-season debut last week.

"I believe he'll take it up a notch and come out and dominate."

Both Thurmon and Anderson are tall (6 ft. 3 in. and 6 ft. 2 in.) and lanky, which gives them an advantage against most defensive backs in the CFL.

Burris and Thurmon were teammates with the 'Riders in 2003 and '04 and both players had one of the best games of their careers in the 2004 West final loss to the B.C. Lions.

In a game that ended in overtime heartbreak for the 'Riders, Burris threw for 416 yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to Thurmon.

The team took a beating from fans that off-season (manure hit Paul McCallum's neighbour's driveway) and Burris subsequently left for Calgary.

After a solid season with the Stamps, Burris told Thurmon he would be appreciated in Calgary.

"He's a very supportive guy, in the film room and on the field," Thurmon said of Burris.

"It's easier to play when you have a good relationship with the quarterback.

"I know how he's going to throw the ball."


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