So soon? Bekkering ends tryout

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:49 AM ET

Henry Bekkering's foray into pro football has come to a quick end.

The basketball star whose athleticism was tantalizing enough for the Stampeders to draft him in the fifth round last year despite not having played football regularly since high school -- other than as an emergency kicker at Eastern Washington University -- opted to return to the University of Calgary for his final year of basketball and pursue opportunities on the court.

"I believe he discovered his sport is basketball," said Stamps GM/head coach John Hufnagel. "I was glad him being a draft choice he found out. The only thing I can ask for is the guys that I draft, the guys we draft, get on the field so we can find out and move on. That's what transpired.

"It surprised me, truthfully, because he played well, but how I feel really doesn't matter. It's how the players feel and I wish Henry all the best. I enjoyed having him around. He gave a great effort."

Bekkering, the 6-ft.-5, 245-lb. receiver from Taber, was a surprise signing just before camp and fared well in the eyes of the coaches who knew he had a huge learning curve.

However, he decided the opportunities that lay before him with basketball -- potentially for the national team and professionally in Europe -- were more tantalizing.

"I worked very hard, but I've come to the conclusion that my commitment wouldn't be at the level I would need to be successful," Bekkering said in a statement on the team's website. "I realize my sport is basketball and I'm turning my attention back there."

EXTRA POINTS

Jessie Newman, the rookie offensive lineman drafted third overall this year, will miss at least three weeks after requiring arthroscopic knee surgery yesterday. Newman was injured the first day of camp. "They found a little tear in there and cleaned some stuff up that was there previously," Hufnagel said. "He was disappointed, but he understands it was the best thing for him to do." ... Also missing time yesterday were OL Cody Kennedy (knee), WR Tyrone Calico (calf) and RB Ken Simonton (hamstring) ... OL Fabio Filice, a non-import who spent the 2006 season with Hamilton and played one game for Toronto last year, was added to the Calgary roster. The 6-ft.-2, 285-lb. product of McMaster University was signed by Edmonton in February but released last month ... Calgary released receivers Blaine Kruger and Reggie Williams, who missed the last two days with a hamstring injury.


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