No more little bro

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

A nickname is hard to shake, especially when your older brother keeps repeating it.

Since high school, when Rahim Abdullah was a huge star (figuratively and literally), younger brother Khalid was the 'Little Abdullah.'

Nothing has changed in the intervening years, when Rahim, now 30, went off to college at Clemson and Khalid, 27, settled for the much smaller Mars Hill.

"I've always been the little one," said Khalid, a Calgary Stampeders linebacker. "I guess I didn't hit my growth spurt until 12th grade.

"In Grade 10, I was like 5 ft. 5 in. I didn't fill out until after high school and didn't stop growing until my third year of college."

Rahim measures nearly 6 ft. 5 in., so almost everything about him overshadows his brother. He was drafted into the NFL in the second round, while Khalid went in the fifth and ended up growing to 6 ft. 2 in.

Nothing really has changed with the Stamps. Rahim was in Calgary first and is the loudest one at practice, constantly calling other players his children.

Khalid instead quietly goes about his job, which now is the starter in place of veteran George White, who was released this week.

At every level of football, Khalid was given a little less credit for his work than Rahim, although both have forged impressive resumes.

When Khalid was in college, Rahim was an NFL stud who was able to give his brother hand-me-down Cadillac Escalades, which just didn't fit into the atmosphere at Mars Hill.

Having a successful older brother toughened Khalid for the pros because he still has to work harder to make a name for himself.

"My whole career has been this way," Khalid said. "When I was in Div. II, they told me I couldn't play ball as well as anybody in Div. I.

"You have to take it with a grain of salt."

With the Stamps, Khalid has the unenviable situation of replacing a popular player in the clubhouse.

He understands the veteran linebackers won't necessarily be receptive to him but he will try to earn their respect.

"It takes time to get comfortable," Khalid said. "They all had chemistry for a couple of years now. It's not like I try to bring extra donuts or anything like that.

"I try to do my part and that's know my assignments and show up to work.

"You can never be satisfied with football. It's too unpredictable. Once you get satisfied, that's when you get moved out."

After two seasons with Cincinnati in the NFL, Khalid felt a bit of culture shock when he arrived in Canada. There's less fame and attention given CFL players.

"When I first got here, I felt a little out of place," Khalid said. "I'm feeling more comfortable now."

EXTRA POINTS: Stamps QB Henry Burris and DB Coby Rhinehart followed up player of the week honours by being named offensive and defensive players of the month for August ... About 1,000 tickets still remain for the Labour Day Classic Monday ... The Eskimos officially welcomed DB Donald Brady back yesterday.


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