Another Forzani joins Stampeders

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:47 PM ET

There’s already a Forzani on the Calgary Stampeders’ Wall of Fame.

For the first time since the early-80s, there could be another on the field this season.

The Stampeders selected Johnny Forzani in Friday’s Supplemental Draft, then hammered out a contract with the fleet-footed receiver, whose father Tom was a three-time CFL all-star and uncles John and Joe also suited up with the Red & White.

“It’s definitely added pressure and it’s going to be a challenge, but I’m just going to embrace it,” Forzani said. “Obviously, my father had an outstanding career, and him and my uncles have done great things for the team and the city. I just think it’s really cool, but I’m here to create my own identity, so I’m not going to get hung up on trying to live up to that expectation.

“I’m just going to try to, you know, be me.”

He certainly comes from good gridiron genes.

Tom Forzani starred for the Stamps from 1973-83 and still ranks second in the club record books in receptions and receiving yards. He even had his No. 22 retired by the team.

Between the three of them, Tom, John and Joe spent 25 seasons with the Stamps.

Johnny Forzani also knows his way around McMahon Stadium, having run routes at practice for parts of two summers and grown accustomed to seeing his father’s name on the Wall of Fame.

“It was really weird at first,” Forzani said. “I was always looked up and it was almost like my dad was watching. But I think it’s cool. I just feel lucky that I get a chance to play here now and try to do some good things myself.”

The Stamps surrendered a third-round selection — the highest bid in Thursday’s CFL Supplemental Draft — to add the homegrown talent to their roster.

Forzani, 21, is turning pro after spending just one season with the Washington State Huskies, where he racked up 265 receiving yards and two touchdowns and tied an NCAA record with a 99-yard score.

He wasn’t eligible for the main draft, but Stamps GM/coach John Hufnagel figures the club landed a future contributor in the seldom-used supplemental format.

“With a year of experience under his belt, along with his natural ability, we feel Johnny would have been a very high pick if he was available in the 2011 draft, so this was a great opportunity for our football club,” Hufnagel said in a statement. “It’s also a nice story because his father Tom was a great Stampeder and the family will be proud to see the Forzani name back on a Stamps jersey.”

The Stamps open rookie camp in less than two weeks and Forzani, a high school hoops star with little football experience, is anxious to show the coaching staff he’s ready to make an impact in the professional ranks.

“I think it’s a win-win for both of us,” Forzani said. “Something I’ve always done with sports, whether it’s basketball or it’s football, is I’ll base my whole life around it. This is all I really do. I’m just constantly training. One thing you’re always going to get with me is I’m going to want to be the best and I’m always going to want to work harder.

“If you have that mixed with talent and good coaching ... then they should definitely be happy with picking me.”


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