Brandon Browner showed his dedication to the Calgary Stampeders during the Grey Cup, and it cost the defensive back a chance at an NFL job.
But the Stamps have shown their commitment to Browner, signing the shutdown cornerback to a one-year contract extension after he helped the team win the Grey Cup while playing on a fractured ankle.
"He showed everybody on this team and probably the city of Calgary how much of a competitor he is," said Stamps GM/head coach John Hufnagel about the 22-14 win over the Montreal Alouettes.
"He played a game on a damaged ankle and that probably enhanced the damage. The rehab has been slow, but it has been improving.
"He's a central part of our defence. He allowed us to play a certain style. His contribution on special teams is tremendous, especially on punt coverage. We're looking forward to those things for this year and hopefully some more years after that."
Although the 24-year-old Browner long said he wanted to try the NFL again after being on injured reserve with the Denver Broncos for a season, his ambition changed after hoisting the Grey Cup in Montreal.
It was his first championship of any kind, and he now feels a bond with the teammates he hoisted the Grey Cup next to.
The Oregon product will be back for at least the 2009 season and can try to get an NFL job again next year at this time if he chooses.
He has an option year for 2010, which could be his fourth season with the team if no NFL clubs come calling.
"The win made me want to come back more than I thought it would be," Browner said. "I had been thinking about the NFL for so long, but the Grey Cup was great. It was a great experience, and it was more than I expected.
"This is a good opportunity to come back and try to get a Grey Cup in Calgary. I can make some good money here in Calgary."
The Stamps may also be getting more good news in the coming days, as kicker Sandro DeAngelis will have the option-year window run out on him as well.
DeAngelis said it's unlikely he will sign an NFL deal and is pleased to return to the Stamps. He is set to become a father for the first time, before training camp begins.
The Stamps are also working on getting free-agent defensive lineman Eddie Freeman under contract.
Browner did get workouts with a handful of teams, and even cancelled a couple of others when he found the injury wasn't fully healed.
He came back to Calgary this week where it was discovered that he has fractures in the ankle.
Being the Stamps know what he can do, they didn't need him to prove his health and there isn't a worry he won't be ready for training camp in June.
"I found out a lot of things this off-season," Browner said. "A majority of average players wouldn't have played through that.
"Some teams I couldn't work out for at all. Some other teams I couldn't really show them anything. I guess you could say I scared them away a bit."
In 18 games last season, Browner had three interceptions, forced three fumbles and was third on the team with 61 tackles.
He was named an all-star at cornerback in a position where every game he's asked to cover an opposing team's top receivers.
"We asked him to play aggressively on most teams' No.-1 receiver, because that's where they line up," Hufnagel said. "Brandon has done an excellent job against those players. There is still a lot of learning and improvement for him to make in the future."