Trio sharing captaincy on D

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:39 AM ET

In the political realm, the result would've been a nightmare.

For a football team collecting input on who'll serve as defensive captain, a too-close-to-call three-way tie isn't such a bad thing.

That was Calgary Stampeders coach John Hufnagel's take after cornerback Brandon Browner, linebacker Dwaine Carpenter and safety Wes Lysack were voted into leadership roles yesterday.

"I enjoyed, when I was counting up the votes, to see that their teammates were confident that these players were worthy to get their votes," Hufnagel said.

Quarterback Henry Burris and kicker Sandro DeAngelis will also serve as captains for the upcoming campaign, but the biggest story is on the defensive side of the ball, where returning co-captain Lysack will have plenty of help this season.

Both Browner and Carpenter are first-time captains at the professional level.

"I talked to both of them, I congratulated them and said 'Welcome to the crew,' " Lysack said. "They're good selections. They are motivational-type guys and guys that hold people accountable, and that's the reason they are asked to be in that position. It's something you've got to be honoured by, and more than anything, you have to realize you're in that position and fulfill it."

"You've got to make sure you're doing the right thing, not getting into trouble, and leading by example to the other guys."

The Stamps' other co-captain in 2008 was outspoken linebacker JoJuan Armour, who was released by the club Monday because of disciplinary issues. Armour was by far the most talkative of Calgary's defenders last year, a void someone else must fill starting with Wednesday's regular-season opener against the Montreal Alouettes.

"(Armour) was the mouthpiece for the defence," Carpenter said. "That was one of JoJuan's things -- he was more of a vocal leader -- so this year, especially now, I feel like I need to step up and take that role.

"Someone is going to have to step up and take that role, and I will welcome that challenge."

Carpenter won't be alone.

Even before the captains were unveiled yesterday, several of the Stamps' defensive veterans were resolved to take on a bigger leadership role this season.

"We've talked about that already, so guys are ready to step up and be leaders, myself included," said fourth-year linebacker Shannon James.

"We've got some guys that are not as vocal as other people -- we show it on the field -- but now we have to be vocal. We've got some young guys we've got to guide.

"You need captains on your team, but you can't put all the onus on one or two guys," agreed defensive end Mike Labinjo.

"Shoot, if you could have 12 leaders out their on the field, that'd be great ... On on our defence, and if we want to be the best, we're going to have to have a bunch of leaders."

No matter how many defensive captains will be representing the defending champions during Wednesday's coin toss, Lysack confirmed there's a couple duties not up for grabs.

It's usually up to Burris to call the coin flip, and Hufnagel is the go-to guy after that.

"You're nothing more than a robot," Lysack said.

"You can pick heads or tails, but the decision that comes after that is not your decision -- it's Huf's."

WES.GILBERTSON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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