Stewart's still standing

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:18 AM ET

To get a leg up on a roster spot in the Calgary Stampeders secondary, one might just have to be standing on two of them at the end of training camp.

So second-year CFLer Brandon Stewart is feeling good these days.

Although he is worn out from extra reps, the 22-year-old will play tonight when the Stamps take on the Edmonton Eskimos in the pre-season opener at McMahon Stadium (7 p.m., QR77 Radio).

"It feels like I have to focus on staying healthy, and executing what the coaches are telling me," said the defensive halfback. "This could be a good year for me as far as playing. I still have to prove myself in pre-season, just like last year."

As it stands heading into the exhibition opener, Stewart is listed on the positional chart with fellow second-year Stamp Calvin Bannister at wide-side halfback.

The rest of the secondary is ravaged with injuries except for the three Canadian players working out at safety -- Wes Lysack, Richard Karikari and Sean Manning.

Even the designated leader of the group, cornerback Brandon Browner, sprained his ankle in practice Wednesday and is iffy to play tonight.

Browner joined cornerbacks Willie Byrd and Crance Clemons, as well as halfbacks Julian Battle and Chijioke Onyenegecha, on the injured list.

The Stamps are hoping to have enough bodies to fill spots against the Eskimos, but Stewart is excited to get extended action with others out.

The Eastern Arizona product won't be eligible for the NFL draft until next year, and he is anxious to get into game action after spending the majority of last season on the practice roster.

"This is exciting. I can't wait for tomorrow night where we can showcase our talent against another team," Stewart said. "Not every team has a Nik Lewis, Jeremaine Copeland and Ken-Yon Rambo.

"We've been preparing against some of the best in the league. I can't wait to face someone else."

Stewart did suit up for one game last season -- at home against the Toronto Argonauts -- when the Stamps' secondary was in a state of flux with Bannister injured and a few others released.

But after making two tackles and playing OK in the win, Stewart was put back on the practice roster.


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