Dan's no longer our man

IAN BUSBY

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

In his first CFL prediction, Danny McManus boldly said his former team would go to the Grey Cup.

However, the recently retired Calgary Stampeders quarterback didn't take the Red and White to play in Toronto in late November during his TSN debut, which was a season preview show.

He instead took the defending champion B.C. Lions to win the West Division.

Can the Stamps not win without McManus on the roster?

"I was afraid I was going to get the homer call," said McManus, who counts the Lions, Eskimos and Tiger-Cats among his former teams.

"It was my first time on the panel and I didn't want to jump in right away and be labelled a homer.

"I think Calgary will be an outstanding ball club. From the talks I've had with the players and coaches, team speed is going to be way up in Calgary. That's what they need to compete with B.C."

McManus retired as a Stampeder this off-season to join the TSN football crew and they had him working hard this week.

He was part of the season preview show Wednesday, was the colourman for Rod Black for the Edmonton-Winnipeg overtime thriller Thursday, then did the sideline reporting last night in Montreal.

All told, McManus will be featured in 28 broadcasts this season and he's finding the gig just as demanding as getting under centre in CFL action.

Last night, McManus also took care of the coach interviews coming in and out of halftime.

"I didn't realize how hard the job the media has," McManus said.

"You have to give questions that guys can and want to answer, ones that will get the response that's useful for television.

"That's the hardest part is asking questions instead of questions being asked of me. I know all the cliches because I use them all the time.

"One game at a time, take what the defence is giving you. It's now one game at a time and take what the producer is giving me."

McManus figures he's putting in about the same amount of prep time for TV that he did getting ready to play.

Instead of just preparing notes and strategies on one team, he's gathering anecdotes and stories for two teams, sometimes twice a week.

As a player, he would only travel to one city a week while now he's in two cities over two days.

He's gaining a better appreciation for what the main TSN team of Chris Cuthbert and Glen Suitor do on a weekly basis.

But McManus is enjoying it and only occasionally felt he was missing out -- for example, the first day of training camp.

"I missed it, then I got on the phone and made a tee time the next day," McManus said.

"Every time I got a feeling I was missing training camp, I made a tee time.

"Actually, I played about 16 rounds of golf since camp started. There was a few times I missed football but it was a nice deal to golf every time I felt bad about it.

"It's different but not as hard as I thought it was going to be. This week is tough because the season's opening. I'll miss playing but I won't miss waking up sore the next morning."

As for his former team in Calgary, McManus believes they will be strong and he has confidence in starting quarterback Henry Burris.

But he says there will be one main difference about the Stamps this year without him.

"That's why they're not doing dances this year, I used to choreograph all the moves," McManus said with a laugh.

"That's why Jeremaine Copeland isn't dancing. Everything else is true but when the choreographer leaves, you don't have any way of putting dances together."


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