Pickin' up where he left off

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:11 AM ET

The Calgary Stampeders offence wasn't sharp yesterday in team drills during their first practice, which is hardly a coincidence.

Even just minutes into his first workout after arriving late to training camp, cornerback Brandon Browner was making an impact.

When the 6-ft.-3, 200-lb. freak of nature is on top of his game, he can shut down half the football field because of his reach and presence as a hitter.

It was the first time new head coach John Hufnagel had seen the second-year Stampeder in person. Colour him impressed.

"It was nice to see his number out there," Hufnagel said about having 27 on the field. "He ran well and created some havoc for the offence. He's just starting, so I won't be too much judgemental on the first day. But it was good to see."

Browner prefers to keep the personal issue that kept him away from the first four days of camp private. He would only say the issue is minor and won't have an effect on his play. The 23-year-old spent the off-season at home in Los Angeles, spending time with his nearly two-year-old son and working hard to improve on an impressive rookie campaign.

Although Browner was one of the most exciting newcomers to the CFL a year ago, he isn't really satisfied, especially when looking at his stats.

"I had an all right season, so I want to do more this year. I had one interception last year," Browner said.

"What DB wants just one interception? I can't predict anything (in terms of picks), but I will practice hard and play hard, give everything I can."

Browner returned his one interception for a touchdown in the third game of the season, and after that, quarterbacks were wary of throwing balls where Browner could outjump receivers.

Even as a rookie, the Oregon State product led the CFL with four forced fumbles and led the Stamps with five pass knockdowns. He finished fourth on the Stamps with 55 defensive tackles, plus added another 16 on special teams, and had one sack.

The arrival of Browner means the Stamps can breathe a sigh of relief about their defence. The only other player listed behind Browner at short-side corner is the 6-ft.-3 Willie Byrd, who is sitting out with an injury.

When Browner was at home, it was frustrating for him to know others were getting a headstart because he feels he will have to prove himself to the new coaching staff.

"There is a lot of fast, young guys out there," Browner said. "There is a lot of competition out there. It's all for the best, though."

In the next few sessions, Browner will be working hard to learn new defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones' system, although he seems to be fitting in nicely.

"I'm just another player," said Browner when asked if he felt valued by the coaches. "I want to impress. I'm just one of 45 other guys on the team.


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