Ryan won't sing cryin' tune

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:36 AM ET

It only took seconds for Ryan Thelwell to catch on to what was happening.

When the Calgary Stampeders signed receiver Teyo Johnson, Thelwell knew the drill. Johnson is a Canadian. Thelwell is a Canadian.

If Johnson gets activated, and he was in last week's 23-19 win over the Montreal Alouettes, he may be forced to sit.

As an eight-year veteran, hearing your name as a healthy scratch can be devastating, but Thelwell is keeping a positive attitude, even if it happens again Thursday when the Stamps play host to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

"Even if I'm not scheduled to play, I'm coming in ready to run scout team," said the 35-year-old. "It doesn't matter to me. I will work hard and prepare to play."

Last week's contest in Montreal was just the second one Thelwell has missed since the 2003 season, when he was with the B.C. Lions.

He left the Lions after the 2006 Grey Cup win and signed with Calgary as a big-splash free agent.

In 18 games last season, Thelwell had 40 receptions for 733 yards and four TDs, which were actually improvements on the previous season.

But this off-season, the Stamps decided Brett Ralph would be the starting Canadian in the receiving corps, so they asked Thelwell to take a pay cut. He did, and he moved his family to Calgary and got a full-time off-season job as well.

"I wanted to be here," said Thelwell, who has three catches for 49 yards. "Sometimes you have to choose and I had a feeling deep down we would have a good team here.

"I came here last year and fit in well with the group of receivers. They are all good guys. It was something I still wanted to be part of."

Last year at this time, the Stamps had a receiver shuffle because they had one more qualified import that they could dress.

Nik Lewis, Ken-Yon Rambo and Marc Boerigter each took turns as scratches, but there was one game where Thelwell hardly saw the field as well.

Once Boerigter was cut, the entire receiving corps found a comfort zone.

The game after Boerigter was released, Thelwell made seven catches for 199 yards and two TDs.

This season, with Lewis, Rambo, Ralph and Jeremaine Copeland set in their starting spots, the Stamps have rotated in Chris Jackson, Thelwell and Johnson as the fifth receiver.

Johnson joined the squad in time for the third game, Jackson sat out Week 2 and Thelwell was the casualty last week.

The Stamps are still trying to find out who best fits and they already know what they have in Thelwell. That can't be said about Jackson, Johnson or any of the other new receivers.

"Things work out the way they do when you go through the week and figure out how you want to use everybody in different situations," receivers coach Pete Costanza said.

"Our receiving corps is real deep. All the guys are good receivers and they come to work every day. Whichever five get the call, they go play and I have confidence they will get it done. You could say it's a work in progress. We have to see how the puzzle comes together that week."

Although Johnson hasn't practised in the past two days with a minor injury, Thelwell still has to wait and see. He can't get too comfortable because he knows it will be up to head coach John Hufnagel whether he plays or not.

"Every Saturday, I'm going to be wondering if I'm in that week," Thelwell said. "Knowing it's nothing I did -- I had a talk with Huf and he said that -- so I can understand it. I was still disappointed.

"If I wasn't, then I probably shouldn't be here."


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