Stamps defensive back eager to Battle

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:00 AM ET

This was supposed to be a training camp Battle to watch, but instead it's the defensive back who was mostly a spectator.

Julian Battle expected to pick up right where he left off in his second season with the Calgary Stampeders: Shutting down slotbacks from his halfback position. But tendinitis in his heel kept the 26-year-old out for more than a week as rookie free-agent Brandon Smith took most of the reps.

However, there is a sense of relief for Battle in that he did some individual drills yesterday with the plan on fully returning to practice today.

"It's very frustrating," Battle said. "I obviously want to be out there getting comfortable with a new scheme and working out the kinks.

"To be injured, you basically are a spectator, doing mental reps. There's nothing like hands-on. You need to get out there and get running around, actually doing it in my opinion."

Battle joined the Stamps midway through last season and ended up playing seven games plus the playoff loss to Saskatchewan.

He recorded 20 tackles, a sack and an interception during his time, and he was expected to be a stabilizing force in the secondary. Instead, the 6-ft.-2, 205-pounder has had to watch others makes some plays.

POINTS AFTER

Stampeders OL Jeff Pilon left practice early yesterday with what head coach John Hufnagel deemed a turned ankle ... The Winnipeg Blue Bombers made a move towards shoring up their kicking problems yesterday by signing former Stampeders punter Duncan O'Mahony to help ease the release of veteran Troy Westwood.


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