Stamps pull off blockbuster

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

The Calgary Stampeders have made a major move to make up for the season-ending injury to Ryan Thelwell.

In a six-player, three draft-pick deal, the Stamps get former 1,000-yard import receiver Romby Bryant and veteran Canadian wideout Arjei Franklin.

"Romby is a player we've been following for some time, and we really like what he brings to the table," said Stamps GM/head coach John Hufnagel. "He has good speed, size and has proven to be very productive in the CFL. Arjei is a good non-import receiver who also has shown he can produce at this level."

After Ken-Yon Rambo went out with a season-ending knee injury, the Stamps were thankful Thelwell was able to step in and give them production.

But after Thelwell suffered a torn Achilles in Friday's loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, they needed another body to plug into the lineup.

To get the pair, plus a third-round pick in the 2010 Canadian Colleges Draft and the rights to an undisclosed negotiation list player, the Stamps sent import defensive end Odell Willis, Canadian receiver Jabari Arthur, import receiver Titus Ryan and fourth- and sixth-round picks in 2010.

Bryant, 29, is in his second CFL season and has 20 catches for 232 yards and no touchdowns through 11 games.

Last season, he led the Bombers with 1,205 yards and nine touchdowns on 65 receptions. He is 6-foot-1, 191 lb. and spent four seasons in the NFL before joining the Bombers.

Franklin, 27, has missed most of this season with an ankle injury and has five catches for 53 yards. He started all 18 regular-season games for the Bombers in 2008 and had 49 catches for 566 yards and a touchdown.

He can play any position in the receiving corps and is ready to go after practising the past four weeks.

"It is a shocker, but I'm a professional," Franklin said. "I take pride in that and working hard and being prepared. I look forward to getting there (Sunday night), learning the offence and contributing.

"It caught me by surprise. I had no clue it would happen. I'm excited about it. I've watched the way Calgary has played football for a long time, and I think for a young Canadian receiver, it's a good place to be."

Willis and Ryan were in their first seasons with the Stamps, while Arthur was in his second. After a season-opening 104-yard kickoff return touchdown, Ryan struggled returning the ball. He fumbled in consecutive games, both leading to touchdowns.

Arthur broke his foot in training camp and was on the verge of returning to action.

Willis came out of the gates fast, recording six sacks in four games before going into a slump.

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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