Phillips tours McMahon Stadium

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

Before last Friday, Justin Phillips had only visited one CFL stadium.

Now, he's explored every inch of McMahon Stadium and knows what the view is like from Row 1 all the way to Row 70.

The Calgary Stampeders first-round draft pick this season pulled a hamstring on the first day of camp and now spends most of his day climbing stairs to exercise the muscle.

For a player who had never been west of Ontario and only seen Ottawa's Frank Clair Stadium in person, it wasn't the position he wanted when he arrived in Calgary.

"This stadium is nice, I'm pretty impressed with it," said the linebacker. "I've seen more than I would have liked. But it will get there. You can't hurry these things along. There's a risk of making it worse and missing the entire season."

Phillips, who is expected to fill a backup position in the linebacking corps, hits the sidelines for team drills, taking mental reps to see if the studying he's done of the playbook is catching on.

"Every time I'm on the sideline, I listen to the playcall, read what the coach is saying and then watch the player at my position," he said. "I know what he's doing before he moves so I see if he follows my line of vision."

Although the 22-year-old is anxious to get back on the field, he knows pushing the injury is the wrong idea. Still, every day he's missing he realizes some experience is lost.

"I thought I was close but I worked it a little hard and now it's sore again," Phillips said. "We're just resting it."

EXTRA POINT

The Eskimos released import DB Ricky Bell, who signed with Edmonton as a free agent in March.


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