Pickett of the QB litter?

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:35 AM ET

As a former teammate of pivot Cody Pickett, Saleem Rasheed never got roped into the quarterback's tricks.

The Calgary Stampeders linebacker can only hope that continues when the Toronto Argonauts come to town Saturday.

While both Pickett and Rasheed were plying their trade with the woeful San Francisco 49ers from 2004-05, the QB would bring his rope to the locker-room.

Unsuspecting teammates would walk by Pickett's locker and get caught in a trap by getting their legs tied up.

"He never got me, but he got plenty of other guys," said Rasheed yesterday.

Pickett comes from a rodeo family. His father, Dee, is in the hall of fame as a championship roper after leaving Boise State, where he was a quarterback. Dee, a world champion, even roped in the Calgary Stampede.

Although Cody Pickett started two games for the 4-12 San Francisco Niners in 2005 and had a woeful 28.3 quarterback rating, Rasheed is warning his Stampeders teammates how good he actually can be.

The Argos are playing Pickett over reigning CFL most outstanding player Kerry Joseph, but Rasheed said Pickett has similar skills to the former Saskatchewan Roughrider.

"People underestimate Cody's athleticism a lot," said Rasheed, who returned last week from a shoulder injury that kept him out nine weeks.

"Cody has good escapability. He can do a variety of different things that people don't really know about, but his biggest attribute is his arm. He can throw the deep ball with accuracy but also can complete the underneath stuff.

"He is sort of a complete package."

Pickett was a three-year starter with the Washington Huskies, where he faced Stampeders linebacker Matt Grootegoed, who was starting linebacker for the USC Trojans.

Back in 2002, Grootegoed picked off a Pickett pass on a tip, but what he remembers most is the quarterback ran him down and stopped him from scoring.

"That showed me he was a tough guy because he put me on the sidelines," Grootegoed said. "He caught me off-guard. He had a tougher mentality than most quarterbacks. He's a big, tall, strong guy who is fairly athletic."

Pickett set school records for passing yards and TDs at Washington, so Grootegoed expected to see him get an opportunity when he arrived this season in Toronto.

It took a trade of Michael Bishop and the bold benching of Joseph by new head coach Don Matthews to make it happen.

"But I'm not surprised," Grootegoed said. "He's a good quarterback from a good program. He is a good Pac-10 quarterback who has a good arm. He will do well. I'm eager to see him play because I haven't seen him play in a long time."

The Stamps began game-planning for Pickett yesterday but only have one quarter of action from Friday's 39-9 Argos loss to Winnipeg Blue Bombers to go off.

Defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones, who used to coach under Matthews in Montreal, is also going back to the pre-season to evaluate Pickett.

"We don't have much film on him," Jones said. "It's a disadvantage to us, but he also hasn't taken a lot of reps, so it pretty much evens out.

"There is a lot of uncertainty," Jones added. "He possesses what it takes to be a quarterback or he wouldn't have started some games in the NFL."


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