Nothing funny about d-line

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:18 AM ET

Being a spry linebacker his entire football career, Juwan Simpson used to make fun of those hefty lineman.

Just how tiring could it be standing up and running a few feet?

But after a week and a half of Calgary Stampeders training camp, Simpson has a new respect for defensive lineman, because it's not as easy as he thought.

"I was talking to friends back home and we always used to joke about lineman and why they are so tired all the time," said the Alabama product. "Now I know. It's a demanding position.

But it's something that I can get used to."

Simpson, who started 32 games at Alabama from 2003 to 2006 and finished with 243 tackles, is making the conversion to defensive end from linebacker.

He will see his first game action tonight when the Stampeders take on the Edmonton Eskimos in the pre-season opener at McMahon Stadium (7 p.m., QR77).

Simpson is fighting with Canadian sophomore Justin Phillips and fellow rookie Lemarcus Rowell for a roster position and could be a long-shot because he is making a transition.

When he found out he was going to be a lineman, Simpson tried to add some weight to his 6-ft.-3 frame. He came in at 235 lb., but feels he still has the speed to rush the quarterback.

"You have to look beyond the names of the positions you are in," Simpson said. "There are guys who are 200 or 205 (lb.) who are playing linebacker. If you say that in the NFL, that's safety size.

"I tell people back home that I play rush end and they say I'm too small to be doing that.

"It's a totally different position, but I feel I can do well in this league."

Simpson still has a bit of a connection to linebacker with the Stamps.

He took No. 48, which used to belong to middle linebacker Brian Clark.

After college, the 23-year-old was signed by the Green Bay Packers and played some pre-season games with them before being released.

So he is anxious to get into game action to find out how well he knows his new position.

"It's been a long time," said Simpson.

"I'm ready to get back into the flow of things. I'm hopefully going to show people what I can do."


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