Johnson a numbers game favourite?

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:03 AM ET

Tom Johnson pulled on his practice jersey and found it odd he was wearing No. 77.

The prospective Calgary Stampeders defensive tackle has a lot to live up to wearing those digits.

"I asked coach (Cornell) Brown why everyone else had a number in the 90s," Johnson said. "He said there's something behind it and that I will find out soon enough.

"The trainer stopped me and said that number means something because it was on a Hall-of-Fame defensive tackle.

"I can represent it. I'm ready."

Johnson showed up for rookie camp and couldn't help but see the Wall of Fame where No. 77 is next to John Helton's name.

Helton starred for the Stamps from 1969-78, was a nine-time CFL all-star, and won the lineman of the year and defensive player of the year awards.

"No pressure," said the Southern Miss product.

"I come to play every day. Whenever I put the helmet on, I'm ready to go. I'm ready to win and put it all on the line. I'm ready to do what I do."

Johnson will be given every chance at making an impact with the Stamps.

Only Mike Labinjo returns from the group of linemen that started on defence at the end of last season.

After two straight training-camp tryouts with the Indianapolis Colts, Johnson spent a year in NFL Europe and then had a couple of stints in the Arena League.

At 6-foot-3, 280 lb., he feels his game is more suited to the wide-open Canadian game.

The 24-year-old isn't as green as some of the other rookies, but he didn't mind the two-day freshman camp to get ready for tomorrow's kickoff of main camp.

"I've been loving it," he said. "I've been knocking off the rust. It's been 10 months since I played anything. I'm with a good group of guys. The coaches have been great.

"I'm full of confidence right now."


Videos

Photos