Big and busy on line

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

Three business ventures, two babies, one football team ... And a partridge in a pear tree.

"I have a lot of stuff going on," said Calgary Stampeders offensive lineman Garrick Jones, in what may be the biggest understatement of training camp.

Jones came to the Stampeders in an off-season trade with Winnipeg, with the move coming at one of the busiest times of his life.

The left tackle had to hand his graphics, trucking and catering businesses over to partners in January when his wife Chastity had twins, a boy named Gavin and girl named Gizelle.

"We had a lot of complications (with the birth)," said Jones, who left the Atlanta Falcons last summer and then hooked up with the Blue Bombers for the last two months of the 2006 season.

"I had to put everything on the backburner. Now they are here, they are the joys of my life. I hate that I'm away from them right now.

"I was there for them for four months while my wife was working. I was there day and night with the babies. I got my daddy daycare on."

Although he's a nurturing father away from the stadium, the Stamps acquired Jones for the nastiness he dishes out on the football field.

And at 6 ft. 5 in., 320 lb., the Arkansas State product could affect the whole offensive line by bringing a more physical attitude.

He is pencilled in at left tackle to replace Alexandre Gauthier and the Stamps hope he can have the same effect on the team Rob Murphy had with the B.C. Lions.

The hugely physical Murphy was the lineman of the year last season, so the Stamps believe it's worth using an import spot on Jones to see if he can do the same thing.

"He can move his feet like few can at that size," said Stamps GM Jim Barker. "To have a big guy like that with experience who won't miss blocks is critical at left tackle.

"(Free agent) Bobby Singh and Garrick both bring (a nasty side). With Jeff Pilon and Jay McNeil bringing experience and John Comisky a salty guy as well, we've gotten more physical on the line.

"We're very excited about our line."

Jones' first few days of camp have been hampered by a right forearm injury that's got his arm in a cast right now.

Jones compares the football team to his businesses in that he leans on others to help but makes sure he takes care of his role.

"When it's time for ball, it's time for ball," he said.

"You surround yourself with good people.

Jones hopes to bring his family to Calgary later this season but for now he's mostly keeping up to date with the kids by e-mailed photos and daily phone calls from back home.

"I have some fighters on my hands that keep me fighting."


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