Dimitri Tsoumpas is happy to be home where he feels the love.
All he felt in Miami was the heat.
When the 24-year-old offensive lineman was released by the Miami Dolphins last week before the NFL team’s training camp began, the Stampeders knew they would likely get him back for the rest of this season.
Turns out, the Edmonton product will be around a lot longer.
Tsoumpas promptly signed a contract extension upon coming back and he will be with the Stamps through the 2013 season.
“Where am I going to go?” said Tsoumpas, who could have tried the NFL again next year or become a CFL free agent.
“This is the team that drafted me. They wanted me all along.
“They say to go where you’re wanted and I felt the need to come back home. I went ahead with it.”
Looking a bit fitter (Tsoumpas dropped 10 lb. working out with the Dolphins), the right guard took part in his first practice Tuesday.
He won’t resume his starting position for a couple of weeks at the earliest and for now he’s working with the second unit.
Steve Myddelton took over the starting job from Tsoumpas this season and has done fine job, but rookie will give way to the 2009 West Division all-star at some point.
“We haven’t decided on that,” said Stamps head coach John Hufnagel. “We’re concentrating on getting ready for this game against B.C.
“Dimitri is Dimitri. We know how good he is. We just have to get him ready to play.”
Tsoumpas helped solidify the Stamps offensive line in 2008 when Hufnagel made a bold trade to get the second overall draft pick from the Edmonton Eskimos.
As an Edmonton boy, Tsoumpas expected to join the Eskimos and have a long career in Green and Gold.
But when the Stamps sent John Comiskey and Kevin Challenger to the Eskimos for the pick and took the Weber State product second overall, the perspective changed for Tsoumpas.
Two years later, after not missing a snap in 36 games for the Stamps, Tsoumpas is a 100% Calgarian.
“My folks live in Edmonton, so when I go see them I’m just visiting,” Tsoumpas said. “My home is Calgary now.”
Although he never made it to main training camp with the Dolphins, Tsoumpas felt he had to take a chance with that opportunity.
He went through the organized team activities and got a good sense of what the NFL is like being there for seven months.
“Obviously the talent level down there and the structure in the off-season … it was a good experience,” Tsoumpas said.
“I realized I have a lot of room to grow as a player and ways to more forward. There are different techniques I can do and there are different coaching schemes. It broadened my perspective on things.”
Tsoumpas doesn’t rule out taking another shot at the NFL someday, but it won’t be until after his contract with the Stamps runs out.
Getting a taste of it was nice and will surely help when he gets back into CFL action.
“It’s really a different game,” said the 6-foot-4, 305-pounder. “The guys are right up on you and I’m blocking 6-foot-5, 360-lb. Paul Solliai. I had to go through a transition period.
“I did the best I could, so I don’t have regrets. Looking back, I wouldn’t change anything.
“Hindsight is 20-20. There are things I might have done differently but at the time I took every day as it came. Whatever happens, happens.”