No rest for wary Stamps

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:02 AM ET

Titus Ryan wasn't planning on getting any sleep last night.

Roster cutdown day is an anxious time for Calgary Stampeders hopefuls, and Ryan is like many others in hoping he made enough of an impression to earn a job.

The decision is out of his hands now.

Ryan and his would-be Stamps teammates find out who will make up the opening-day lineup today, when final cuts are announced (1 p.m.).

"I told my mom to have a word of prayer," said Ryan, who led the Stampeders in receiving during Tuesday's pre-season win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

"I hope I will be alright. I try to stay confident, but it always stays in the back of your mind, 'What if?'

"I'm confident I did enough to catch their eye, but it's up to the coaches now to see what choice they made."

In trying to win a job with a deep receiving corps, Ryan made a strong impression Tuesday night.

The 25-year-old Concordia College-Selma product caught five passes for 65 yards, with his biggest being a deep sideline pass that went for 31 yards.

But Ryan also did well in another area that might get him a roster spot. He took three punt returns back for a total of 32 yards and looked as if he could handle some special teams duties.

Stamps GM/head coach John Hufnagel has some tough cuts to make, but one decision seems to be made for him.

In the battle for the middle linebacker spot, rookie Tray Blackmon could seemingly win by default.

Lemarcus Rowell injured his knee Tuesday night and the sophomore could miss a few weeks.

Still, Blackmon isn't taking anything for granted.

"None of our jobs are secure," he said. "It's still a fight to the end. You can't relax and get comfortable.

"You need to keep driving and keep the hunger there and work hard."

Hufnagel said final cutdown isn't pleasant for the coaches, either, but stressed a release isn't the end of a career.

"It's not a good day. It never is. It's part of the game," Hufnagel said. "You do it as professionally as you can.

"Hopefully, the players who will not be on this team will have an opportunity to be on someone else's team.

"I told the players in the meeting, just because you aren't on this team now doesn't mean you won't be on this team in a few weeks.

"I made the analogy several times. I was a dumb guy last year who cut Charleston Hughes, and right now he's in the Philadelphia Eagles' camp.

"Never say die. Keep the fire and hopefully good things will happen for you."


Videos

Photos