Picture of Grace

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:18 AM ET

From on-field menace to sideline cheerleader.

Not exactly an easy transition for the reigning CFL defensive player of the year to make but one Calgary Stampeders linebacker John Grace handled with class.

When the Stamps came into the locker-room following victories over Montreal and Edmonton, Grace was the first to greet his teammates with a high-five and smile.

Now the Stamps will need Grace back on the field tomorrow against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (7 p.m., McMahon) thanks to a hamstring injury suffered by his replacement, Khalid Abdullah.

Defensive co-ordinator Denny Creehan is happy to reward Grace for his positive attitude.

"Nobody likes to sit out and John didn't, either," Creehan said. "When the decision was made, he wasn't a malcontent about it.

"I've been telling everybody all along. I never thought John's season was over with. It was just a matter of resting him and a matter of getting him back in the lineup.

"I knew we would need John Grace before the end of this season. I knew we would need to count on him and that's exactly what will happen."

Grace has held the stance he would practise hard, wait for another opportunity to play and help any way he could.

He was just as pleased to see the Stamps go on a three-game winning streak, although that run ended last week in Edmonton.

"Ultimately, the team goal is to win football games, no matter who is on the field," said Grace. "All these guys are not only my teammates, they are my friends. We've been through some tough times together so if they do good, I'm enjoying it.

"If a guy didn't do something like that, he wouldn't have too many friends on the team."

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: Terrence Patrick is stepping into some pretty big cleats this week. The second-year Stamps defensive lineman will start at field end because Rahim Abdullah is nursing a knee injury.

Although Patrick is more comfortable on the other end, he feels he can do some damage against a patchwork Winnipeg offensive line.

"Whenever you lose a veteran like Rahim, it's going to hurt the defence," Patrick said. "Hopefully I can help out ... This is a time for me to shine."

EXTRA POINTS: It seems every time the Stamps lose, the opposing team has great performances. Last week the Eskimos beat the Stamps 35-26 and nearly swept the weekly awards. QB Ricky Ray took the offensive honours, DL Adam Braidwood defensive and K Sean Fleming won special teams. Roughriders DL Terrell Jurineack won the lineman award ... The Stamps cut QB Barrick Nealy from their practice roster.


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