Receiving corps' revolving door

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

The man wearing Jason Clermont's number did a shimmy-shake, turned to get open and caught a nice pass from the man playing Buck Pierce yesterday.

It's hard to believe, but Marc Boerigter has become a practice scout-team receiver for the Calgary Stampeders when they run the B.C. Lions offence against their defence in advance of tomorrow night's tilt at McMahon.

After all, he was expected by many to be the team's top receiver this season. Heck, one of the top receivers in the league, period.

But taking Clermont's role for the past few days is the extent of Boerigter's work in practice this week as he will miss his second straight game for the Stamps.

Boerigter is obviously disappointed in not playing but has declined to speak to the media about the situation for the past two days.

The big-splash free-agent signing from the NFL has instead tried to get some attention in the limited action he's getting.

"You notice it," said fellow receiver Ryan Thelwell.

"We divide up pinnies for the other team. He jumped on Clermont because he knew there would a lot of passes thrown his way.

"He is getting a lot of looks and done a good job with it."

Thelwell knows exactly how Boerigter is feeling this week, and he sits next to him in the locker-room. Like Boerigter, Thelwell signed as a highly-touted free agent this off-season then wasn't performing to the expected level early in the campaign.

In the first meeting with the Lions three weeks ago, Thelwell was the odd-man out of the first-team offence, although being a non-import. He dressed and played on special teams.

"You want to do well for your new team because when you come into a new situation, they don't know much about you," Thelwell said.

"You want to do well for them. When it doesn't work out right away for you, you put that much more pressure on yourself.

"I know how I am. I'm not an outspoken guy, but I'm competitive. When I don't play well, I press more. It's not for lack of caring or effort, but you just have to relax and play."

The Stampeders came into this season with what was thought of as an embarrassment of riches at receiver.

Nik Lewis was the first to sit, and he still remembers how it feels.

Knowing an import receiver who could start will be in street clothes come game time has had an effect on the entire group.

The argument could be made that it has motivated everyone to play better, but it also has caused some tension.

"We almost have a nervous feeling about it," Lewis said.

"You don't know week-to- week who will be sitting out. You feel bad for the one sitting out, but you also feel relieved it's not you.

"It's frustrating the way it is. Sometimes I can't sleep the night before the first practice (of the week) because I don't know who will be sitting out. I don't know where I will be playing week-to-week."

The question now is when will Boerigter get another chance to play? The reason he sat out last week was a knee injury. In five games, he has caught 16 passes for 246 yards and one touchdown.

Those numbers aren't terrible, but they're certainly not what anyone would expect of a top-level receiver.

Receivers coach Chuck McMann said his corps is getting better after some early-season struggles, and Boerigter is still adjusting to getting back in the CFL.

"It's a different game, and there are adaptations to make," McMann said.

"Plus the system is different. It's similar to what he had before, but he was gone six years. There's some adjustment time for him.

"I would hope he will get an opportunity, whether it's the next game or whenever."


Videos

Photos