Stamps take another hit

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:45 AM ET

Being successful means everyone wants a piece of you, and it seems the Calgary Stampeders’ football operations are being picked apart.

On the heels of losing offensive co-ordinator George Cortez to the Buffalo Bills, reports indicate player personnel director Jim Barker is leaving to become head coach of the Toronto Argonauts.

The Argos have called a news conference for Tuesday where they will announce their new head coach.

The promotion would be good for Barker, who had one-year stints with the Argos (1999) and Stampeders (2003) as a head coach, but Calgary’s 2008 Grey Cup championship group is starting to disperse.

Earlier this off-season, special teams co-ordinator Craig Dickenson decided to take a sabbatical from coaching and resigned from his position. That was after president Scott Ackles left to join the Vancouver 2011 Grey Cup committee.

Although the team hired Lyle Bauer to become the new president, the Stamps filled the other positions with qualified people within the organization.

Barker’s departure may mean defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones gets his second promotion in less than a month.

When Jones signed a contract extension Jan. 27, the move came with the added title of assistant director of player personnel.

The Stamps will likely cover for Barker’s loss the way they will for Cortez. Instead of a new offensive co-ordinator being hired, assistant coach Dave Dickenson will do the play-calling and Hufnagel will provide more input into the offence.

Being that these moves have come late in the off-season, most of Barker’s scouting work has already been done.

The team has completed a handful of free-agent camps in the U.S., and the college bowl season finished with the Senior Bowl a couple of weeks ago.

Travel is a big part of the job and one of the reasons Barker likely wanted a change.

What the Stamps will miss is Barker’s keen eye for talent.

In his first stint with the Stamps (2003), Barker is the one who put running back Joffrey Reynolds on the team’s negotiation list.

Over the years since Barker returned to the team as player personnel manager, the Stamps have added the likes of receiver Ken-Yon Rambo, defensive back Brandon Browner, defensive end Charleston Hughes and offensive lineman Dimitri Tsoumpas.

One of the biggest validations about Barker’s ability to bird-dog is when a player he brings in to Stamps training camp but is then released ends up somewhere else in the CFL.

It’s happened several times in recent years.

In both his head-coaching stints, Barker was hamstrung by ownership issues, but the keys to the Argos are about to be handed over to David Braley, a long-time CFL owner who also has the B.C. Lions.

The 2003 season with the Stamps was a tough one in that the owner (Michael Feterik) had his son (Kevin) playing quarterback for the team.

The move to Toronto for a second time would actually be a clean slate for Barker to get back on the sidelin es.

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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