Uphill climb for Stamps' Sam

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:52 PM ET

Anxious to get acclimated with his new stomping grounds, receiver P.K. Sam and some of his Calgary Stampeders teammates bought bikes to tour around the city.

As Sam is now fully aware the picturesque Rocky Mountains aren’t the only inclines around these parts.

“The first day we bought the bikes, it was like a 30-minute ride back and two of the other guys, Romby (Bryant) and Arjei (Franklin), they just left me,” Sam said with a grin.

“I just got off my bike and started pushing it. The terrain is definitely a little too hilly for me, so I just like to keep it in safe distance where I know I’m gonna make it, because it was tough.”

After missing the majority of training camp and both exhibition outings with a hamstring injury, there has been some speculation Sam is facing an uphill climb to claim a roster spot with the Red

& White, although that seems far-fetched.

After all, the Stampeders shipped fan favourite and clutch pass-catcher Jeremaine Copeland to the Toronto Argonauts for the 27-year-old receiver and will wait to see what Sam is capable of at full-speed.

“I’m not worried necessarily about getting released,” Sam said. “I’m just trying to get back in football shape and make sure I’m mentally ready for whatever happens.

“Anything can happen, but from the conversations I’ve had (with the coaches), it’s comforting. It’s been a huge disappointment in camp, not being able to get out there for either pre-season game, so yeah, that did make me feel a little better.”

After missing Sunday’s tuneup against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Sam returned for Tuesday’s practice session at McMahon Stadium, a good indication his sore hamstring is feeling a little better, too.

Robert McCune, who is auditioning for the starting spot at middle linebacker, was also back in action.

Stamps head coach John Hufnagel will likely wait until Thursday’s deadline to make his final cuts, meaning the hopefuls are running out of opportunities to impress the brass at McMahon Stadium.

With Sam stuck on the sidelines, second-year Stampeders receiver Jermaine Jackson has been stellar so far and established himself as the likely starting slotback opposite Nik Lewis.

That’s Copeland’s old spot, a position where Sam topped the depth chart just a few weeks back.

But the third-year CFLer from Florida State insists he’s not here to replace Copeland, who made a dozen trips to the endzone last season.

“If anything, (the trade) was a compliment,” Sam said. “Of course, it’s in the back of your head — he had such a good season, he was such a good player and he had a big role in the locker-room. I wouldn’t call it pressure, but it is there, knowing who I got traded for and knowing what I need to do.

“They know what they have, obviously, or they wouldn’t have traded for me,” Sam added. “But I still owe them a lot. I hope to just produce and make the trade a good one.”

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos