Labinjo leaps linebacker and forth

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

Mike Labinjo played both defensive end and linebacker in training camp.

The idea was to see where he'd fit on the Calgary Stampeders roster.

Turns out, it's both.

Thanks to a plethora of injuries, Labinjo ended up playing both on the line and at linebacker in last Thursday's 28-18 win over the B.C. Lions.

"It did kinda catch me off guard, because I didn't see what happened in the game, but you've got to be prepared for anything," Labinjo said after yesterday's practice.

"Hey, if they need me to play safety, I'll play safety. Hopefully that won't happen."

It appears defensive linemen Funtaine Hunter (hamstring) and Juwan Simpson (ankle), and linebacker Saleem Rasheed (shoulder) will all miss Thursday's game in Edmonton.

At linebacker, the club can add healthy scratch LeMarcus Rowell or Matt Grootegoed, while practice-roster player Julian Jenkins and newcomers Charleston Hughes and Jonal Saint-Dic -- both added to the team yesterday -- are options for the defensive line.

"We'll have 12 guys out there, I know that," said head coach John Hufnagel. "We'll play the guys who are here and, hopefully, they'll be able to get it done. I'm sure if they play with the same intensity and effort, they'll give it a good show.

"They know we're going into a hostile stadium and we have to be at our very best to get done what we need to get done."

Hughes was among the final cuts and had only returned home to Detroit for a few days before getting the call.

He was monitoring the game over the Internet and was prepared to return.

"I didn't have time to unpack my bags. All I had time to do was wash a couple clothes and put it back in the bag," said Hughes.

"I'm really happy. I've been excited since I got here. Everybody keeps telling me to stop smiling but I haven't stopped smiling yet. I think I was smiling when I was out running on the field."

Even shorthanded, the Stamps did an outstanding job against a potent Lions team.

"I think it's a credit to our coaches and the guys on the this team that were able to come in and fill in for those positions," Labinjo said.

"When you get two starters hurt and a rookie that's been balling in the game, it's tough to fill those shoes.


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