Jay ready to jump in

IAN BUSBY, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

Two years ago, the Calgary Stampeders resident greybeard on the offensive line, Jamie Crysdale, suffered a leg injury, leading to his retirement at the end of the season.

Left guard Jay McNeil missed the past three games for the Stamps due to a calf injury, but don't expect history to repeat itself.

McNeil, who turns 37 tomorrow, isn't ready to hang up the cleats the way Crysdale did in 2005 when the long-time centre was the same age.

Having healed up, the eldest member on the Stamps roster can't wait to suit up for the Labour Day Classic against Edmonton Sept. 3, which will be McNeil's 213th career game.

"I still enjoy playing," said McNeil. "I am at the end of my career, whether it's this year or next year.

"Hopefully, it's a little later rather than sooner.

"One thing this has done for me is reminded me that I still love playing."

McNeil hurt his calf in the first meeting Calgary had against the B.C. Lions at McMahon Stadium and sat out two road games before standing on the sidelines in the rematch with the Lions.

He admits his heart was racing as the Stamps matched the defending champions move for move in a 45-45 overtime draw.

While teammates were leaving town Saturday for bye-week vacations, McNeil was getting ready to catch up on work at his other job with Trinidad Drilling.

"I've very much missed being out there for the past few weeks," McNeil said.

"I'm anxious to come back. I'm glad for my calf's sake we have another week off. But I wish the week was over and we were back practising already."

While McNeil was out, the Stampeders offence clearly missed his leadership at times but managed to play well against the Lions Friday at McMahon, rolling up 486 yards.

Veteran lineman Rob Lazeo, who was acquired from Saskatchewan in a trade, did a good job taking McNeil's spot and helping the line hold off the Lions' great front four.

"I'm OK with that," McNeil said.

"When I was younger, I used to feel that you want the guys to do well, but you don't want to lose your job to someone else.

"Now, I'm OK. I wanted Rob to do well, and it was nice to see him get time to play."


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