Stamps ink pair

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:45 PM ET

Eric Fraser is anxious to prove he was worth the wait.

After returning to Central Michigan University to finish his health fitness and science degree, the Calgary Stampeders’ 2009 first-rounder is ready to fight for a full-time job at McMahon Stadium.

“Sure, there’s a lot of pressure, but I also have a lot of motivation,” Fraser said. “There’s three or four teams that passed on me last year, so there’s always a little bit of motivation in that. There’s also some pressure on me, but I put a lot of pressure on myself, too, to perform and play the way that I know I can.”

Just two days before Sunday’s CFL Canadian College Draft, the Stamps cleared up some unfinished business from last year’s prospect grab, announcing that Fraser has signed a contract and will report to training camp.

The Stamps also inked a deal with non-import kicker Warren Kean, a former first-round pick of the Edmonton Eskimos.

When the Stamps nabbed Fraser with the eighth overall selection last spring, they knew the product of Burnaby, B.C., intended to return to Central Michigan for his senior season.

Fraser averaged three tackles per game in his final campaign with the Chippewas and finished with 189 tackles, four interceptions, one sack and one fumble recovery in 40 career collegiate outings.

Now fully recovered from shoulder and ankle injuries, Stamps boss John Hufnagel is excited to add Fraser to his stable of talent.

“I know that when he was hurt at Central Michigan, their defensive co-ordinator said they were a different team without Eric,” said Stamps head coach John Hufnagel. “They really enjoyed what he brought to the table for them.”

The signing of Fraser, who turns 23 Tuesday, sets up an intriguing training camp battle at McMahon Stadium. The 6-foot-1, 214-lb. prospect is expected to suit up at safety, where he’ll compete with fellow Canadian Wes Lysack and import Milt Collins for starting duties.

“It sounds like they’re going to throw me in the mix,” Fraser said. “If I’m the best man, then I’ll start. If Milt or Wes is the best man, then they’ll start. And that’s really all you can ask for. I don’t want to be favoured or anything like that. Those guys are great and they have veteran experience, so the only thing I can ask for is an opportunity.”

While Fraser is out to prove the Stamps made a wise investment in him, Kean is hoping to shed his label as one of the biggest draft busts in Eskimos history.

After a stellar post-secondary stint with the Concordia Stingers, the Eskimos cashed in their second-overall selection in 2007 to bring Kean to Commonwealth Stadium.

That arrangement didn’t last long.

Kean appeared in just one game, hitting three of four field-goal attempts.

Now, the 25-year-old faces the unenviable task of replacing sure-footed Sandro DeAngelis, the five-time West Division all-star who bolted for Hamilton as a free agent.

“I’m ecstatic to get back to football,” Kean said in a statement. “I’ve done a lot of work to get to this point and I can’t wait to get started. There are a lot of people that work their whole lives for this opportunity, and to have the chance twice is quite remarkable.”

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca


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