Catch-22 situation could be a winner

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:12 AM ET

The number of the player catching passes can't be missed.

It's been years since a Calgary Stampeders receiver donned 22 -- since 1983, in fact, the last season Tom Forzani played with the Stamps. The club retired his number the following year.

Yet, there was John Forzani, son of the famous receiver who starred for a decade with the Stamps, taking those steps in his father's footprints at rookie camp yesterday.

"I came into the locker room and saw my name and the jersey and thought, 'You guys have to be kidding me,' " the younger Forzani said. "I thought they retired his number."

The change of plans is understandable.

And the story is eerily familiar. Like his father, John Forzani's sporting love growing up was basketball. He starred at Dr. E.P. Scarlett high school and spent last season at Douglas College, which won the Canadian college title.

He never played football at any level, not even high school.

"I was always just so focused on basketball and didn't want to get hurt before basketball season, so I never played," he explained.

"My dad, he didn't play until he was my age, too, the first year out of high school, because he went to play basketball at Utah State. It's almost like he knew eventually I would. But it's weird how that happened.

"I think in the long run this would be the best thing for me to do. I truly do. I think if I put in enough hard work, get the right coaching, some things could come out of it."

The 6-ft.-1, 193-lb. receiver planned to play hoops in Idaho starting in the fall, but after years of being told his skills -- including a 40-yard dash time of 4.4 seconds -- would transfer well to the gridiron, he decided a few months ago to give it a try.

"I've been here every day since March, working out and trying to get the skill part down," said Forzani, who worked with Stampeders receivers Jeremaine Copeland, Nik Lewis and Rob Cote, as well as quarterback Henry Burris.

And the first day?

"It was fun to see," said Stampeders head coach John Hufnagel, who happens to be John Forzani's godfather

"It's a starting point for John, an opportunity for him to progress quickly and we'll see how fast he can get it done."

Gargiulo retires

Anthony Gargiulo has decided to retire -- but he hasn't given up on football.

The defensive end was injured in the final regular-season game of 2007 against the B.C. Lions and is still recovering.

"I'm retiring right now because I'm not prepared to compete at camp at the level I need to. It's the best situation for me and the club," he said in a press release. "I'll be working hard and I still hope to return as soon as I can."

An arbitrator overturned the one-game suspension the CFL gave Lions offensive lineman Jason Jimenez earlier this month. Jimenez was punished for an illegal block Nov. 3 on Gargiulo, who suffered a broken leg plus torn ligaments and tendons and required surgery to put a plate in his leg.


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