Stampeders dealt another blow

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:21 PM ET

CALGARY — John Hufnagel gave his pre-season address to his players Saturday night and he certainly wasn’t going to ask if anyone else wanted to retire.

With the way things have gone over the past few weeks, half the team might have wanted to walk out.

It didn’t happen, but it’s not like the news got any better a day before main training camp opens Sunday morning.

In another blow to the Stampeders’ depth of Canadian talent, Hufnagel placed veteran linebacker Marc Calixte on the disabled list, joining the expected receiver duo of Ken-Yon Rambo and Ryan Thelwell, who are working back from serious injuries.

Calxite, a fixture on special teams since 2003, will have an MRI on his knee but the prognosis doesn’t sound positive, as Hufnagel said it’s arthritic, which could be career-threatening.

“I still value Marc Calixte as a football player,” Hufnagel said. “I still want him on this team and he wants to be on the team. We have to be comfortable that it’s not a one-game season for him. I might be overly cautious but he won’t go on the field until we’re comfortable.”

Hufnagel is still puzzled by the sudden retirement Friday of left guard Jesse Newman, who was being counted on as a starter in his third CFL season.

Newman has refused interview requests, citing personal reasons for his decision and releasing a statement through the team.

“I sincerely regret putting the Stampeders and coach Huf in this position by making such a late decision,” said Newman in the statement. “It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made.”

This leaves Hufnagel looking for more offensive-line help.

“I’m looking for depth,” Hufnagel said. “I’m still comfortable with our young guys and the veterans we have brought in.

“If you recall two years ago, our offensive line was decimated in training camp. We couldn’t even have a complete line that year, it was that bad. We survived that and we will survive this.

“It’s not what you want. At this time, we just have to move forward and make the players we have better. I do have two veteran players (Matt Sheridan and Dan Comiskey) who have excelled in this league.

“They are first-year Stampeders but they have played at a high level in the CFL.”

The Stamps also released quarterback Michael Desormeaux, fullback Matt Henry and defensive linemen Eryk Anders and George Clinkscale.

After the Winnipeg Blue Bombers cut Canadian fullback Guillaume Senecal Saturday, the Stamps flew him into camp and he should be on the field once practice starts Sunday.

Hufnagel has made an offer to Teyo Johnson, but the free-agent fullback is weighing his options, although he plans on playing somewhere this season.

If the Stamps are on the hunt for more Canadian talent, there were a few releases of note.

The B.C. Lions cut Calgarian Mike McEachern, who is a defensive back, and defensive lineman Scott McCuaig.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders released receiver David McKoy, while the Toronto Argonauts cut Calgarian Matt Lambros, who is also from Calgary.

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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