Ben there, done that

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:47 AM ET

Ben Sankey got the call early Tuesday morning, and it only took him a second to decide about returning to the Calgary Stampeders.

With backup quarterback Dave Dickenson sidelined the remainder of the regular season with post-concussion symptoms, Sankey was brought in to provide some veteran depth at the position.

The 31-year-old Sankey was only gone a little more than a month, so he quickly hopped on a plane and left behind his job as a personal trainer in Chicago.

"I'm the houseguest they can't get rid of," Sankey said yesterday. "I just got a five-game vacation. I got a chance to spend some time with my son and daughter.

"It was some reflection time to see if I wanted to still keep doing this. I realized I do. The fire still burns in me. I don't think I'm that old as a quarterback.

"It gave me time to reflect and think about the situation. It's a good situation here, with a good team and a great coach. I have a great relationship with them."

It appears Sankey and 25-year-old Barrick Nealy will compete for the backup job behind starter Henry Burris, who has recovered from the turf toe he suffered Monday.

Sources said the team doesn't have interest in Marcus Crandell, who was released last week by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, mainly because Sankey is familiar with the Stamps' system.

Sankey started two games last year when Burris was injured and spent all of training camp with the team before suffering a hamstring injury.

Nealy will be installed as the backup for tomorrow night's rematch with the Edmonton Eskimos at Commonwealth Stadium.

The third-stringer came in and went 2-of-7 passing for 20 yards against the Eskimos Monday when Dickenson went out.

After spot duty in two seasons, Nealy feels ready to take the role of reliable backup.

"I feel like I am ready," Nealy said.

"On Monday, I got the opportunity to get a few reps in, so I feel ready to do it. We'll see what I bring to the table.

"You have to be ready for all types of situations. It's been important to get in there when I can and get a few reps under my belt."

The Stamps would clearly prefer to keep Nealy in the development role and use Sankey when he gets up to speed.

Although he is familiar with the system, the playbook has grown since the start of the season, and yesterday's abbreviated session didn't provide him many reps.

On a short week, Burris took most of the meaningful snaps, but Stamps head coach John Hufnagel hopes to get Sankey ready quickly.

"I'm sure, if and when he gets on the field, all the previous experience he's had with this football team will be a benefit," Hufnagel said.

Hufnagel said the decision on who is No. 2 will be made in the next few weeks.

"We'll sit down with Ben and see how much he has retained," Hufnagel said. "I have confidence in both guys that they can go in there and do some good for us."

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BACKIN' UP BURRIS

BEN SANKEY

Age: 31

Vitals: 6-foot-3, 220-lb.

CFL experience: 61 games

Career stats: 208-of-328 passing for 2,818 yards, 22 TDs, 9 INTs, 101.7 passer rating, 360 rushing yards, 2 TDs, 14 fumbles

BARRICK NEALY

Age: 25

Vitals: 6-foot-5, 212-lb.

CFL experience: 27 games

Career stats: 7-of-24 passing for 111 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 58 rushing yards, 0 TDs, 1 fumble


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