Family man fighting for job

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:43 AM ET

After nearly every Calgary Stampeders practice, Calvin Bannister grabs his cellphone and hits the stands at McMahon Stadium.

The defensive back needs updates from his fiancee Eugena about their children Calvin III, 2, and Leyla, 1, who are back in Roanoke, Va.

The second-year CFLer is hoping the message he can send home this weekend is he has won a job and the family can join him in Calgary again.

"It's very tough. I couldn't imagine being without them, period," said Bannister. "It's been pretty tough for me this camp. Last year, they were with me."

The small (5-ft.-8) but speedy Bannister joined the Stampeders in training camp last year and quickly worked his way into the starting lineup at halfback.

In the third game of the season, he suffered bruised ribs but still managed to pick off a pass by Michael Bishop of the Toronto Argonauts.

When he recovered from that setback, he suffered a knee injury against Saskatchewan that knocked him out for the rest of the season.

This training camp has gone much better, as Bannister has earned more reps at halfback as time has gone on. He will get another chance to prove his rough rookie season is behind him tonight when the Stamps take on the B.C. Lions in an exhibition contest in Vancouver (8 p.m., QR77).

"I didn't look at last season as not going that well," Bannister said. "I just thought there were some minor setbacks here and there.

"I thought I was pretty consistent, although I thought I didn't help them in as many ways as I could. I just wanted to get back out here to show them I could still can play and they can still depend on you."

EXTRA POINTS

With DE Justin Phillips not playing tonight due to injury, the Stamps will likely try some shuffling along the defensive line, with veteran Terrence Patrick moving from inside to outside ... The Stamps must declare their 46-man roster plus injured list by 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon.


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