The rebuilt Calgary Stampeders offensive line has been under the spotlight in recent weeks.
But with the Red and White preparing for their final pre-season game Sunday (1 p.m. at McMahon Stadium against the Saskatchewan Roughriders), there should be no shortage of leadership up front.
There’s a ton of it.
Well, 300 lb. of it, at least.
Veteran Dan Comiskey is an expert when it comes to leadership.
In fact, companies pay him and former Edmonton Eskimos lineman Bruce Beaton a good chunk of change to teach leadership skills to their management teams.
“It’s something you learn in football — leadership and habit change,” Comiskey said. “It took some time to figure out how to convey what comes so naturally to football players after years and years of evaluating what you’re doing and changing your behaviour to win.”
Sounds like he could use those skills to help the club’s new line take shape.
“I wish I had put this much thought into leadership in the first half of my career,” the 37-year-old said.
“When you see how important it is to lead by example all the time and understand others will be watching what you do, it makes a big difference.”
While Comiskey will be quick to offer motivation to the rest of the big men, he said his teammates are eager to excel.
“The group of o-linemen they’ve brought in — from (Rob) Lazeo to all the young guys — they’re ridiculously talented,” Comiskey said. “They bring the work ethic every day. They want to win, and they want to get better.
“That’s huge for this team. And it’s huge for me for my last year.”
Comiskey said he wasn’t sure he’d ever make it back on the field after walking away from the game in 2008 to start the business with Beaton.
“I wasn’t sure what the commitment was going to be,” Comiskey said. “We started (the company) before I finished in Edmonton. We knew we had to develop it. We had to write a book and create a program.
“I wasn’t sure how long it was going to take and whether I was going to be able to come back and play.”
Comiskey, whose brother John retired from the Stamps last month, stayed in shape by working out with Beaton for the past year-and-a-half.
“He’s a guru when it comes to nutrition and old strongman training, joint-friendly training that makes you strong but doesn’t hurt you,” said Comiskey, who won two Grey Cups with the Esks in 2003 and ’05. “I’ve lost between 25 and
30 pounds of unnecessary weight ... I really feel like I’m 25. I feel young and energetic.”
Comiskey knows the next time he hangs up the cleats, it’ll be for good. He’s not taking one day for granted.
“Every day, I’m having the time of my life playing a very simple game,” he said. “I’m enjoying the guys around me who all want to win a Grey Cup.
“That’s huge for me,” said Comiskey, who is entering his 13th CFL season, which tied for tops on the club with Lazeo (the two were rookies together with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1997).
“You don’t usually get that chance. When Huff (GM/head coach John Hufnagel) and I started talking about it, four months ago, I realized this might never come along again.”