Stamps' new kicker sure-footed

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:21 PM ET

Rob Maver signed his first contract, suited up for his first professional game, even split the uprights with his first kick.

A true welcome to the big leagues moment, though, is something he could live without.

“I haven’t been laid out or anything like that,” Maver said. “When I’m running down the field, I’m keeping my head on a swivel, so I’m trying to avoid a welcome-to-the-CFL moment, so to speak.”

Maver received an official welcome to the pro ranks Wednesday morning when the Stampeders released Warren Kean, assigning the kicking duties to the sure-footed first-round selection from Guelph University.

“I’m thrilled, but I’ve just gotta keep earning my job every single day,” Maver said. “I haven’t really looked at it that I’m locked in or anything like that, because that’s bologna. I’ve just gotta keep doing my job and as long as I’m doing my job, that’s all I can control.”

The Stamps also released quarterback Zac Champion, who was battling with Cody Pickett to be the third-string pivot, and defensive halfback John Eubanks, who started 13 games for the Red & White last season but lost his job to a now-healthy Brandon Smith.

Import offensive lineman Sam Allen surprised Stamps brass with his retirement, while receivers Jonathan Lowe and Xavier Glenn, fullback Guillaume Senecal, defensive linemen Tim Hunt, Eugene Kinlaw, Darrell Robertson and Jae Thaxton, linebacker Greg Trent and defensive backs Jason Horton and Chris Bowens were all looking for lifts to the airport after being trimmed from the training camp roster.

Running back Derek Watson was also released but will stick around McMahon Stadium to rehab an injury.

Stamps boss John Hufnagel will be moving some bodies to the practice roster and the injured list prior to Thursday’s deadline, although it’s uncertain whether he’ll be handing out any more pink slips.

“It’s not a fun day,” Hufnagel said. “It’s not a fun day for the players I had to talk to. It’s not a fun day for the coaches, the players or obviously myself. But the decisions were made and now we’re moving forward.”

There seemed to be little doubt that Maver was the front-runner for the kicking job, and the 24-year-old boosted his own stock by nailing each of his four field-goal attempts in the pre-season.

What awaits now is the tall task of replacing Sandro DeAngelis, the five-time all-star who signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the off-season.

Noboby needs to remind Maver the stakes have been raised.

“Every kick counts now,” Maver said. “There’s no such thing as a warmup kick anymore. There’s no such thing as a mulligan or a gimme. You’re out here to do a job. It’s a business now and it’s your job to do your absolute best to make every kick. There’s increased accountability and the expectations are higher.”

NOTE HEAD

With a concert scheduled for McMahon Stadium this weekend, Friday’s practice session has been moved to Hellard Field at Shouldice Park. At approximately 12:15 p.m., Stamps players will meet with fans and sign autographs.

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca


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