Arthur's catching on

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

As first seasons go, Jabari Arthur's was a dream.

Stepping on the field for the first time in September, the Montreal native worked quickly into action, then helped the Calgary Stampeders win the Grey Cup in his hometown.

The then-rookie receiver got everything he could have asked for -- except a reception, of course.

"That was a storybook season, coming into the situation I got into," said the Akron product, who was a first-round draft pick in 2007.

"I joined a great team and then was able to win the Grey Cup in my hometown. That was obviously great. It's an experience I will always cherish.

"That was last year and this is a whole new chapter. I'm trying to get out there, make my first catch and help this team win."

By all accounts, the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder has impressed during his first CFL training camp. There are days when he's catching everything, and looking smooth doing it.

In Saturday's scrimmage at McMahon Stadium, Arthur made a few nice grabs, including one that should be his bread and butter, going across the middle and turning upfield by the sidelines.

It almost doesn't seem to matter, though, because the 26-year-old needs to do it during game action where the defence is trying to stop him.

The great unknown about Arthur, who has all the physical tools, is what he can do after the catch.

"Jabari has come a long way since last year," said receivers coach Pete Costanza. "He had eight or nine catches in Friday's practice. He's had some good days. I was teasing him that we had to get him a catch in a game.

"He said once he gets the first one, the floodgates will open and more will come. He's not worried about it. The good thing is he's a hard worker and his mindset is right that he knows his time will come."

With several receivers sitting out practice due to nagging injuries, Arthur has made the most of some extra reps.

He is mostly lining up inside, and he could end up being the replacement for Teyo Johnson in that tight-end, blocking position where he can sometimes sneak downfield.

"He's having a chance to grow within the offence and start to come into his own," Costanza said.

Early in camp, franchise quarterback Henry Burris was asked who he expected raise their performance this season, and the pivot replied it was Arthur and fullback Rob Cote.

"That's great," said Arthur, who had 86 catches in his senior season at Akron.

"I expect big things from myself. This is my first camp, so I'm learning the offence much better. We have a great receiving corps and they've been really helpful."

After the Grey Cup win, Arthur stayed in Montreal and helped create a company called the Athletic Academy with three other CFLers.

The group, which includes Argos defensive lineman Adrian Davis, Blue Bombers defensive lineman Sean Mayne and Eskimos receiver Kevin Challenger, helps aspiring players reach the next level.

"We worked with young kids who aspire to reach the next level," Arthur said. "We were fortunate enough to get to the U.S. (on scholarships), so we're trying to bring back a piece of what we learned."

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CALENDAR

IMPORTANT DATES TO KNOW

TODAY -- Practices at 8:45 a.m. and 4 p.m.

TOMORROW -- Walk-through at 10:30 a.m.

JUNE 17 -- Stampeders vs B.C. Lions at McMahon Stadium, 7 p.m. kickoff

JUNE 18 -- No practice

JUNE 19 -- Practices at 8:45 a.m. and 4 p.m.

JUNE 20 -- Practices at 8:45 p.m. and 4 p.m.

JUNE 21 -- Practice at 10:20 a.m.

JUNE 22 -- Practice at 10:20 a.m.

JUNE 23 -- Stampeders vs Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium, 7 p.m. kickoff

JUNE 25 -- Final cutdown


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