Carlson lines up for Stamps

Zac Carlson during Stampeders' practice in Calgary, June 25, 2010. (JIM WELLS/QMI Agency)

Zac Carlson during Stampeders' practice in Calgary, June 25, 2010. (JIM WELLS/QMI Agency)

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:08 PM ET

Perhaps the newest Hoggie didn’t want to hog the headlines.

Who knows? Zac Carlson wasn’t saying anything.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats castoff was, however, spotted on the field with the Calgary Stampeders for Friday’s practice session at Shouldice Park, ending speculation about whether the embattled offensive lineman would get a chance to revive his career with the Red & White.

“He can’t be out here unless he’s signed — he’s signed and ready to go,” said Stamps head coach John Hufnagel. “He didn’t fit into Hamilton’s plans, so we brought him in to see where he’s at as a football player — what his strengths and weaknesses are — and find out how we can make him a better player.”

Carlson, a first-round pick in the 2009 CFL Supplemental Draft, was released by the Tiger-Cats Thursday, but he wasn’t unemployed for long.

Not long after arriving in Calgary, the 22-year-old offensive lineman boarded a school bus for the short trip to Hellard Field at Shouldice Park, where the team held an open practice.

Afterwards, fans sought out their favourite Stamps for photos and autographs.

You can forgive even the diehards if they didn’t recognize Carlson. In fact, many of his new teammates were probably wondering about the identity of the 6-foot-4, 300-pounder wearing No. 54.

The brass at McMahon Stadium have been keeping tabs on Carlson since he attended Weber State, where he was teammates with former Stamps stalwart and current Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Dimitri Tsoumpas.

Carlson missed his senior season with the Wildcats after a positive test for marijuana, then turned pro and spent last season on Hamilton’s injured list and practice roster.

“We evaluated him and we thought he was a good player at Weber,” Hufnagel said. “So I’m more than pleased that we were able to get Zac for free, because we have been looking for an offensive lineman all through training camp to get some more depth.”

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca


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