Gridiron addiction

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:00 AM ET

Dave Dickenson proved midway through last season he can contribute to a football team just by standing on the sidelines.

In fighting through a concussion that kept him out the majority of 2007, Dickenson was a defacto assistant coach with the B.C. Lions, and the team chugged along to another first-place finish.

After signing with the Calgary Stampeders yesterday, Dickenson said he is excited to continue that role, albeit in a red and white uniform as a backup to Henry Burris.

At 35, Dickenson knows his days as a CFL starter are gone, but he isn't ready to join the coaching ranks full-time.

"If all the playing angles would have closed up, I didn't see myself walking away from the game," Dickenson said.

"Football isn't out of me yet. You tend to have to move around quite a bit in coaching. It would have been tough with two young kids. I wanted more stability.

"Coaching's a part of the game I like. I love drawing up plays and coming up with ideas, or adapting American plays to the Canadian game. I can see it happening eventually."

Dickenson, who signed a one-year-plus-an-option deal with Calgary that would take him through the 2009 Grey Cup, said the fact the Stamps are expected to host that game helped him make the decision to return home.

With the Lions, Dickenson helped mentor young QBs such as Casey Printers, Buck Pierce and Jarious Jackson.

He won't have to provide the same type of support to Burris, entering his fourth year as the Stamps No. 1.

But Burris is excited to have his old friend helping to dissect defences and review plays. The two are good friends and Dickenson was ahead of Burris on the Stamps depth chart in the late 1990s, when starter Jeff Garcia was leading the team to the Grey Cup.

Burris thinks he and Dickenson now form the best QB duo in the CFL.

"Definitely," Burris said yesterday. "But regardless of what I feel, we still have to go out and prove it."

Last season, the 7-10-1 Stamps had a winning record in games Burris started (7-6-1), but never won when their leader was out.

If the same thing happens this year, Dickenson would take the reins and should keep the offence clicking.

Dickenson said during his announcement yesterday he has extra motivation to prove he can still play despite health questions.

Some forget he returned at the end of 2007 and relieved Jackson in the West Final loss to Saskatchewan.

"I'm not sure I would be here if (I didn't play those three games)," he said. "I probably wouldn't want to test it being off so long."


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