Calixte known for his game, not name

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:28 PM ET

Marc Calixte is the second-longest serving Calgary Stampeder, dating all the way back to 2003, but still his name gets mis-pronounced.

It was spoken more than a few times on Monday when the Stamps beat the Edmonton Eskimos 32-8 in the Labour Day Classic.

The Montreal native was a force on special-teams coverage, blasting downfield to hem in returners Tristan Jackson, Jason Goss and Arkee Whitlock.

The 30-year-old recorded four total special teams tackles and earned kudos from his head coach, John Hufnagel, who can at least say his name properly.

“It comes with the territory,” said Calixte (ka-leest). “It’s a rare name and it’s not commonly used. I don’t blame anybody for trying and failing.”

The Eskimos returners probably know his name now.

Calixte put hard shots on each player and the explosive Jackson was held in check all game, getting just 17 yards on two punt returns and 44 yards on three kickoffs.

When Jackson burned the Stamps for a 71-yard punt return Aug. 13 in Edmonton, Calixte was a scratch.

The seven-year veteran sat for four games this season as the Stamps covered injuries at other positions, but he didn’t complain.

“He handled it in a professional manner,” Hufnagel said. “He wants to be on the field but when he wasn’t, he still came to work every day trying to make himself better and still practised in a way to make his teammates better.

“Those are the type of players you would like to have a lot on your team. When he gets the call, he gives it all. It was gratifying to see his performance (on Labour Day).”

Calixte stepped up at the right time. Brandon Browner is usually the first player downfield on kick coverage, but he’s out with a knee injury.

And after Calixte’s outing Monday, the Stamps felt a bit more confident that they didn’t need fellow linebacker Matt Grootegoed, who was released.

Because of his veteran status, Calixte’s salary has become guaranteed for the rest of the season, but he won’t rest easy.

“In life, nothing is really guaranteed,” Calixte said. “I’m happy to still be here and to be able to play the game. What’s more important for me now — than a fixed salary — is the same reason we all play this game and that’s to win.

“I feel blessed that I’ve been able to play this long, to make the right choices and keep coming here prepared every year. The guys aren’t getting any slower.

“I’m having a blast and to be able to play a game I love for seven years is great fun. I wish to play some more years as well.”


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