Stamps court new weapon

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

The Calgary Stampeders seem to think you can never have too much horsepower in the huddle.

The Stamps already boast a high-octane air attack and the CFL's reigning rushing king, but if the defending Grey Cup champs get their wish -- the services of free-agent slotback Jason Clermont -- star gunslinger Henry Burris will have another weapon at his disposal next season.

Even with imports Ken-Yon Rambo, Nik Lewis and Jeremaine Copeland expected back for another campaign with the Red & White, the club has offered a contract to Clermont, a two-time winner of the CFL's Most Outstanding Canadian award.

Clermont admitted he was a bit surprised to hear from the Stamps, but said the coaching staff has made it clear there's a spot for him in the offensive scheme.

"I don't think they would've inquired or contacted me if they didn't think that way," he said yesterday. "That's obviously a factor in making your decision. You don't want to put yourself in a situation to not be able to succeed."

A call to the Stamps office yesterday was not returned.

Clermont, 29, was released by the B.C. Lions last week in a salary-saving move, but the seven-year CFL veteran won't be among the unemployed for long.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are also showing interest in Clermont, who hails from Regina and sells real estate in the Queen City in the off-season, while the Edmonton Eskimos and Toronto Argonauts are also rumoured to be in the mix.

All indications are the Stampeders were the first to table a firm offer.

Apparently, the adoration is mutual. Before he signed up to be boss in Calgary, John Hufnagel served as a guest coach at Lions training camp, and Clermont had nothing but good things to say about the Stampeders skipper.

"The direction that organization has taken in the past few years and the leadership of Coach Hufnagel, it's remarkable," Clermont said. "They've always had a great stable of talent and they've just never really been able to walk that straight line and put it all together and finish out the season, and they were able to do that last year.

"With that leadership and the talent that is around him and the city now being behind them, it'd be just a great place to play football."

Hufnagel, offensive co-ordinator George Cortez and retiring quarterback Dave Dickenson have all chatted with Clermont about bringing his show to McMahon Stadium. Clermont, the 2002 rookie of the year, has racked up 5,917 receiving yards and scored 37 majors in his CFL career.

He was hampered by a knee injury last season, but evidence suggests that might actually be a boon to whatever team he joins for the upcoming campaign.

"I had my first injury in 2003 at the start of the season, and the next season I bounced back, had a 1,000-yard season and was the outstanding Canadian. In 2006, I had another injury and came back in 2007 and bounced back, had over 1,000 yards and was the outstanding Canadian," Clermont said.

"I think what a season with injuries allows you to do is it makes you get into rehabbing and working out a lot sooner."


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