For the past week of training camp, Terrence Patrick felt he was letting his teammates down, even while giving them more chances to prove themselves.
The third-year Calgary Stampeders defensive end has sat out most of camp with a groin injury and felt a bit like an outsider watching everyone else work hard.
He was back in practice yesterday, trying to re-establish himself as the anchor of the line.
"Since Rahim Abdullah and Demetrious Maxie left, I'm the veteran defensive end," said the Bronx native. "I'm ready to be a leader on the defensive line.
"Being here two years, I've learned a lot from the other players. So I'm trying to help push the other guys in the right direction."
The past two years, Patrick was a reserve lineman who would rotate in the lineup to give Abdullah and Maxie a breather now and then.
He came into camp pencilled in as a starter but had to watch others take his place in the pre-season win over Edmonton.
"It was real tough," Patrick said. "It looked as if they were having lots of fun out there. I was just trying to heal and get better.
"I was feeling good but I didn't want to tweak it and have to miss the season opener. Now I'm ready and feeling healthy."
Defensive line coach Casey Creehan said Patrick will benefit from being in one position all season and expects big things from the 6-ft. 5-in., 260-pounder.
PLAYERS SICK OF CAMP
Quite a few players were bitten by a stomach bug yesterday, with two notable names sent home.
Left tackle Garrick Jones and safety Wes Lysack were absent from the practices while several others were ill but not sick enough to skip the final two-practice day, which was shorted by heavy rain.
"We think it's a stomach bug," said head coach Tom Higgins.
"(Trainer) Pat Clayton is very cautious to get them out of here. This is the last (two-a-day) and we had terrible weather to boot."