Rambo ready for war

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:19 AM ET

Ken-Yon Rambo has four Canadian Football League campaigns under his belt, but he's not about to claim he's seen it all just yet.

"I'd never seen no snow in June before," Rambo said.

"But it's not a surprise to me."

Rambo won't catch anybody by surprise in his fifth season at McMahon Stadium.

Not after the Calgary Stampeders' sure-handed speedster finished atop the CFL receiving charts with 1,473 yards and hauled in eight touchdown passes in 2008.

He's still wearing No. 85, but Rambo might as well have a target on his back.

And the 30-year-old from Long Beach, Calif., doesn't mind the thought of a little extra attention from opposing defenders.

"If they do that, other guys are going to be wide open," Rambo said.

"As long as we go down the field and get a touchdown and score, shoot, it's nothing. I don't care if I have zero catches for zero yards if we win the game.

"It doesn't matter to me. I want to help the team in any way and I'm helping the team if they're double-teaming me or triple-teaming me."

Rambo, who has been hampered by a hamstring injury at training camp and missed his fifth consecutive practice yesterday, certainly boasted helping hands in 2008, when he was one of three CFL receivers to hit triple-digits in receptions.

The former Ohio State Buckeyes star notched a career-high five 100-yard outings and had at least two catches in every game. He was named an all-star for the first time.

An encore would be nice. But with shifty slotbacks Jeremaine Copeland and Nik Lewis also returning to Smilin' Hank's huddle, there's no guarantee he'll even be the Stamps' most prolific pass-catcher in 2009.

Doesn't matter to him. The only repeat he's thinking about is getting a second ring.

"Especially winning the Grey Cup, you really understand what you went through during the season and how you got there, and you get anxious to get back there," Rambo said. "We know we've got the bulls-eye on us, but that's what we want. That's the name of the game -- you try to defend your championship."

Rambo wasn't the only Stampeder to enjoy a banner year in 2008. Star quarterback Henry Burris had a career-best 5,094 passing yards and 39 touchdown strikes, while running back Joffrey Reynolds won his first CFL rushing title with 1,310 yards on the ground.

They share at least one thing in common.

"I talked to Rambo in February, kind of after all the Grey Cup hoorah all calmed down, and the first thing he said was 'Hank, we've gotta go get this next one, man. To win in Calgary, that'd be the sweetest thing ever,' " Burris said. "And I agree with him."

Extra points

The Stampeders released two prospective pass-catchers yesterday. Reggie Williams and Johnny Thomas were trimmed from the training camp roster, while defensive back Perry Kyles was added after being released two days ago ... S Milton Collins (hamstring), DL Juwan Simpson (groin) and R Ryan Thelwell (hamstring) were injured yesterday, joining an infirmary that already includes Rambo (hamstring), R Brett Ralph (hamstring), S Wes Lysack (knee), OL Jeff Pilon (knee), OL Rob Lazeo (knee) and K Sandro DeAngelis (ankle).


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