A busy Knight life

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:10 AM ET

Sandro DeAngelis found some comforts of home at his off-season residence last winter.

When the Calgary Stampeders were eliminated from the 2006 playoffs, DeAngelis and many of his teammates went to various places throughout North America to settle in for six months off.

Instead of just working out and prepping for the new season, DeAngelis got a job with the Calgary Flames farm club when he went to Omaha, Neb., where his wife Cassi is finishing her pharmacy degree at the University of Nebraska.

The kicker was involved with his second athletic love, hockey, plus had a connection to Calgary through the players and management he met.

DeAngelis was an advertising salesman for the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights -- who relocated recently -- and would also help on game nights with promotions. The job served to take his mind off how much he missed the daily grind of the football season.

"In the off-season, I'm borderline depressed I miss the guys and the team so much," said the 26-year-old. "I love what I do so much.

"I hit a bit of wall the first month after the season because I'm in withdrawal. The thing I've always said to myself is the CFL, we make OK money but the football is still first in my life."

The typical work day for DeAngelis went a little like this: Wake up at about 8 a.m. and make phone calls to set up meetings.

Through the lunch hour and into the afternoon, DeAngelis would convene with businesses and pitch advertising opportunities like board signs, promos and sponsorship.

On non-game nights, DeAngelis would hit the gym with Cassi at about 4 p.m. for a couple of hours before heading home to relax.

Occasionally, he would be in the Knights' office but most of the time he was driving around Omaha heading to meetings.

"That was perfect for me because I didn't have to sit at a desk for hours on end," DeAngelis said. "It was hands-on. I learned the business aspect. I got to know some of the players and see some future Flames.

"Omaha is a pretty big city so it was a lot of driving. Some days there would be three or four meetings and sometimes I would work the phone all day. Other times, I just pick out a strip mall and visit with people."

When DeAngelis wasn't on the phone with prospective clients, he was calling other kickers looking for advice on off-season training methods.

In talking with the likes of Lui Passaglia, Terry Baker and Mike Vanderjagt, DeAngelis found he may be working his kicking stroke too often.

"I'm working smarter now instead of harder," DeAngelis said. "A kicker isn't made to kick like a maniac 12 months a year. They told me to swim or join a team to maintain fitness but give myself a break.

"I'm a bit of a workaholic. I'm still in that college mode where it's go, go, go."

DeAngelis is now back in Calgary and readying to move into a new home with Cassi. She has a year remaining in school but will be able to do a residency in Calgary and spend the summer here.

"That's a relief because she can be there with me. She was only (here) for two months last year."

In Omaha, DeAngelis isn't recognized as a pro football player because the Stamps and the CFL is obviously off the radar there.

Once in a while, someone does spot him as a former Cornhusker.

When DeAngelis was trying to sell hockey in Nebraska, being a football player helped but only to a certain degree.

"The Knights were having a hard time because it is a football crazed state," he said.

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When Stampeders receiver Ken-Yon Rambo heads home for the off-season, he's often going to different homes.

While the veteran football player likes to retreat to Dallas for relaxation after the tough grind of the season, he immediately starts on his part-time gig remodelling houses.

Working with his cousin, Tiger Harris, who lives in Los Angeles, Rambo helps buy repossessed homes, fixes them up and then sells it for a tidy profit.

Rambo expects to go into real estate full-time once his football career is finished and his cousin is giving him some real-world training.

"He finds them and I check them out," said Rambo, who has done two homes in Dallas while helping out with three others in L.A. "I see how messed up the house is. If it's really tore up, we don't want to worry about it.

"If it's something as simple as carpet or walls needing repair, or piping, we can fix it ourselves."

Most of Rambo's time, even in the off-season, is spent getting his body ready for the physical challenges of a 20-plus game football season.

With the help of a trainer in Dallas, Rambo does an extensive schedule that is focused on a treadmill. The machine moves to incline or decline to simulate football moves.

Rambo's workout regime is more on par with a full-time job. It starts Mondays with a full treadmill session, then upper-body lifting to complete the day.

Tuesdays feature agility drills and leg strength sessions. He takes Wednesdays off then it's a repeat of Monday and Tuesday the next two days.

He spends Saturdays on the field with a group of pro players getting ready for their respective seasons.

The system keeps him on a structured schedule that simulates the CFL season but allows him enough time to do some business. And the longer he plays, the easier it gets.

"It's built into me now," Rambo said. "I used to getting up and working out.

"When I was in college or first few years of pro, I didn't want to put in the time. Now, I've realized it's what I have to do. It's my job."

Even when he's in Calgary playing with the Stamps, his cousin is giving him updates on their properties and the business doesn't stop.

The duo kept two of the houses in Los Angeles to rent out and being an absentee landlord is a bit tough.

But most of the job is finding the right properties to invest in.

"My cousin calls me and emails me photos on houses and asks me if I want in to invest," Rambo said. "My cousin has been in it for a while. I don't have as much money as he does but he's trying to teach me the game."


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