Ryan feels NFLer's pain in return nightmare

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

Somebody mentions Monday Night Football and Titus Ryan knows exactly what question is coming next.

Yep, he saw it.

And the Calgary Stampeders speedster can certainly commiserate with Leodis McKelvin, the Buffalo Bills return-man whose last-minute fumble cost his team a victory against the New England Patriots.

"The first thing that came to my mind was 'I understand how you're feeling right now. I understand exactly how you're feeling,'" Ryan said. "But you just try to make it better the next go-round."

Ryan, the fleet-footed receiver who handles the bulk of the return duties for the Red & White, has been there, done that.

After the Patriots trimmed Buffalo's lead to 24-19 with less than two minutes left on the clock, McKelvin fielded a kickoff only a few steps inside the endzone. Instead of taking a knee, the former first-rounder darted upfield, churning up about 30 yards before losing his handle on the pigskin and watching in horror as the Patriots recovered.

Tom Brady took over from there, putting the finishing touches on another hard-luck chapter in the history of the Bumbling Bills.

Ryan committed a costly turnover of his own last Friday, mishandling a punt that bounced into the hands of Edmonton Eskimos special-teamer Kai Ellis and was returned for a major. Difference being the Stamps won.

McKelvin arrived back in Buffalo to find an expletive spray-painted on his front lawn. Thanks to the last-minute heroics of gunslinger Henry Burris and star slotback Jeremaine Copeland, Ryan celebrated a third consecutive victory with his teammates.

"Thank God we pulled it together and we won," Ryan said. "I try to make it a positive. Once it happens, it happens, so I'm just trying to get ready for this week. That's all I'm focused on."

Ryan started his Stamps career with a bang, returning a kickoff for a 104-yard touchdown in the season-opener. He's been somewhat unspectacular since, but still ranks among the CFL's most effective return specialists.

Ryan, 25, leads the league with 894 kickoff return yards, averaging 24.2 yards per touch. He sits fourth on the punt return rankings, with 310 yards and an average run-back of 7.6 yards.

Extra points

Stamps SB Nik Lewis was a spectator at yesterday's practice, but he's expected to suit up tomorrow in Hamilton ... Rookie DB Davanzo Tate, who started seven games at the beginning of the season, has been released.


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