The Calgary Stampeders bolstered their defensive corps yesterday, signing deals with four import defensive backs.
R.J. Cobbs and Dwight Ellick are exploring their CFL opportunities after bouncing around the NFL for a pair of seasons, while Brandon Smith and Willie Byrd were both looking for a place to kick off their pro careers.
"I'm pleased with the veteran core of DBs we're bringing to training camp," said Stampeders head coach/general manager John Hufnagel.
"These signings will definitely enhance the depth and competition."
Cobbs will be taking the field in Calgary as a cornerback but should know a few tricks of the offensive trade, too. During his days at the University of Massachusetts, the versatile athlete saw his share of snaps at both running back and wide receiver and also returned kicks and punts.
In fact, Cobbs owns the Minutemen record for most touchdowns in one game, scoring five in a 2002 game against Rhode Island.
In two NFL campaigns, Cobbs had stints with the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants.
Meanwhile, Ellick, a Notre Dame grad, has seen time with four NFL clubs, most recently as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Smith attended Sacramento State, while Byrd is a product of Miles College. Neither has any pro experience.
The Stampeders open training camp June 1 at McMahon Stadium.
The club's first pre-season game is June 13, when they host the Edmonton Eskimos.