Who knows Howell this guy can play?

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:34 AM ET

The veteran Canadian occupies so many positions and is in on so many plays, Howell they ever do without him?

Markus Howell's value to the Calgary Stampeders was highlighted again last week in a 44-16 win over Toronto when starting safety Wes Lysack went out with an ankle injury and Dwight Anderson left the game temporarily with a shoulder ailment.

Howell stepped in at wide-side corner for a few plays, then as a second safety on passing downs.

All the while, the main punt returner was keeping an eye on the offence in case he was called into duty as a receiver, which almost happened when both Nik Lewis and Teyo Johnson were banged up in the contest.

And it's only because of playing nine years in the CFL that Howell can keep up to date on three playbooks every week.

"I told him that he should talk to them about a new contract because he's doing everything," said teammate Ryan Thelwell, who has Howell as his backup in five-receiver sets.

"He has to know so much. It's even tougher to learn something when he doesn't get that many reps. He's a backup at receiver but hasn't taken a rep there all year.

"I don't think he gets enough credit. He's a great athlete.

"It's rare to have a Canadian who can do all that. I can't think of another one."

Howell is actually part of all the special teams units, whether he's covering a punt or kickoff, or hanging back on field-goal coverage in case of a miss.

"Even when I come to the sidelines, I can't sit down because in a play-and-a-half, I'm returning a punt or covering a punt," said Howell ,with his trademark smile and laugh.

Howell will return to his utility role against the Saskatchewan Roughriders tomorrow night (8 p.m., TSN) in Regina, but he will still see plays on defence as the nickelback.

Keon Raymond will replace Lysack in the starting lineup in just his third outing for the Stamps.

But if somebody else gets hurt in the defensive backfield, Howell will be ready.

"I've been on a lot of teams where backups don't get that many reps," Howell said. "But during practice, I can hear coach (Chris) Jones yell, 'Did 88 get any reps today?' He's always preparing us for when a guy goes down.

"One play, and then I'm helping at free safety. DA gets a stinger, and I'm at corner. The game can change that fast, so I'm glad I'm ready.

"That's my role on this team."


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