Carpenter handy to have

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:55 AM ET

When Dwaine Carpenter is running around with his teammates, it's almost like he's the old man amongst a group of kids.

At 33, he's the resident greybeard with an emerging Calgary Stampeders defence.

But he almost decided to spend the summer with his own kids instead of the grown children with the Stamps.

After three weeks of the regular season, it is clear the Stamps are lucky Carpenter has kept playing instead of retiring to spend more time with his wife and three kids.

The North Carolina A&T product is the reigning defensive player of the week for his tide-turning forced fumble and touchdown against the Toronto Argonauts.

Who knows where the Stamps would be if Carpenter was back home spending time with his wife Taptolia, sons Jaelin and Jordan and daughter Sequoia.

The competitive fire still burns in the 6-foot-2, 207-lb. linebacker, so he had to come back.

"You always want to be there for them," Carpenter said. "The whole thing we did in the off-season was a priority switch.

"As an athlete, you say you are going away to play so you can provide for your family and you are putting them first. You really aren't if you think about it. At some point, you are being selfish."

Carpenter played five years in the NFL and is in his third season with the Stamps, so he's been playing pro football since his oldest child was in diapers.

Now that his kids are 10, 9 and 7, they are leading busy lives. Leaving for the summer is getting tougher and tougher every year.

"They are pretty active right now," Carpenter said. "They're doing a lot. The biggest thing was I've been playing football pretty much all of their lives.

"My 10-year-old was wondering how long I was going to continue this.

"It's the nature of the business. It was hard for me to grasp and look at. Talking with (coach John Hufnagel), he made me look at it from another perspective."

That perspective would be that once you quit, you can't go back, and the Stamps have a special thing going over the past couple of seasons.

The thing that made up Carpenter's mind was playing in a charity basketball tournament, where his competitive nature took over and made him realize he couldn't leave it behind just yet.

"It went into triple overtime," Carpenter said. "People were cramping up and wanted to quit. I said, 'I'm not losing.' I took over and hit a couple of key free-throws down the stretch. I'm not a great free-throw shooter, but I nailed those four down the stretch anyway.

"It was just (a feeling) I could still do it. It was a sign I wasn't ready to walk away from competing."

When Carpenter came back for his third season, the Stamps gave him a challenge. He was named a defensive captain and given the starting job at outside linebacker.

"This is not a one-man's defence. Each guy brings something else to the table, which is what makes this special," Carpenter said.


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