Don't lose Ricky's number

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

The Calgary Stampeders aren't planning to get wrapped up in any Ricky Williams hysteria this weekend.

As for wrapping up the former Heisman Trophy-winning running back, they fully expect to spend tomorrow night doing just that.

"Any time you have a guy of his stature come in to play against you, the players want to swell up and prove they're worthy of playing with the guy," said defensive co-ordinator Denny Creehan, whose squad has allowed an average of just 92 yards rushing per game and shut down Winnipeg's Charles Roberts last week.

"Toronto's got a stable full of backs. Williams, then there's (John) Avery and this (Jeff) Johnson kid's a damn good back, too."

All three are expected to see action when the Stamps host the Toronto Argos tomorrow night at McMahon Stadium. But it's Williams, a former first-round pick of the New Orleans Saints, who is drawing the most attention.

The 29-year-old, suspended by the NFL in April for substance abuse, has been on loan to the Argos by the Miami Dolphins. Despite loads of early-season attention from across the country, Williams has been a disappointment, rushing for just 231 yards on 57 carries before breaking his arm in Regina July 22. He recently suffered a freak injury to his heel but is still expected to make his return against the Stamps.

"I think the novelty aspect of it is great for the fans but I've seen guys come up from the NFL before," shrugged Stamps defensive tackle Sheldon Napastuk.

"Ricky's a great back and I'm a big fan and I'll enjoy taking the chance to hit him every chance I get."

Williams' CFL arrival was highly publicized but so far, he has fallen well short of the hype and expectations.

In 2002 Williams rushed for more than 1,800 yards with the Fish while he first garnered attention for breaking Earl Campbell's freshman numbers in college.

Still, Calgary's Demetrious Maxie certainly isn't sounding overwhelmed.

"I really don't care, personally, because a running back is a running back," Maxie said.

"They use all their running backs, so we'll see every last one of them."


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