Making waves in Red and White

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

DeVone Claybrooks is already trading barbs with his former Montreal Alouettes teammates.

"We don't call it trash-talking," he said.

"We're just talking really unkindly to each other."

Sure beats talking about them.

Prior to signing with the Stampeders during the bye week, the 32-year-old was working part-time for a Montreal sports radio station, providing expert analysis of a squad he spent two seasons playing for.

Suffice to say, the towering defensive tackle knows his way around Percival Molson Stadium.

"I was talking a lot more kindly then than I am now," Claybrooks said.

"I talked to the (Alouettes) guys on a weekly basis, watched a few practices and watched a lot of game film, because I don't want to be one of those guys when I'm done playing and getting in the booth and analysing the games who's not able to relate and understand.

"It's hard out here. No matter what you draw up for Xs and Os, it's never going to go that way. You don't want to critique somebody when you've already been in their shoes and you know how it feels, so you want to have a positive criticism but also make it simple so that the fans can understand it."

Plenty of former CFL stars -- including former Stamps Doug Flutie, Duane Forde and Greg Petersen -- have made the transition to the booth after hanging up their pads.

Claybrooks, however, put his broadcast career on hold to prove he could still hold his own on football's front lines.

So far, so good.

Through six outings, the East Carolina graduate has racked up 11 tackles and two knockdowns, establishing himself as a regular on a revamped defensive line that also features Charleston Hughes, Tearrius George, Jim Davis and Canadian Mike Labinjo.

Claybrooks credits his stint as an eye in the sky with giving him a fresh take on the game.

"In the trenches, I'm concentrating on two guys, because I'm getting double-teamed every play," he said with a sly grin.

"In the booth, you can actually see the coverages, you can see the tendencies of the running backs and the wide receivers and the quarterbacks, things of that nature, so it actually gives you a very different perspective.

"When you do come back down -- I was fortunate enough to play again -- it totally puts it in a different perspective. You can read everything from formations to tendencies to percentages, and you try to translate that over to the field."

If not for a mid-season invite to audition for the Stamps, Claybrooks would likely be busy this week talking to the Als about Monday's date with the defending champs. Instead, he's studying film and preparing for his first trip back to Montreal.

Claybrooks still counts star quarterback Anthony Calvillo, running back Avon Cobourne and current CFL sacks leader John Bowman among his close friends, but insists he hasn't had this game circled on his calendar.

"It's just an important game because it's the next game," Claybrooks said.

"It might be a little easier to think about because I know the guys and I know their strengths and weaknesses. Maybe I can exploit those and maybe not."

WES.GILBERTSON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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