Newman unretires, rejoins Stamps

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:34 PM ET

As Jerry Seinfeld would say, hello ... Newman!

On almost any other day, the much-anticipated arrival of defensive tackle Corey Mace would have been the big news. During Sunday’s soggy session at McMahon Stadium, though, the surprise sighting of offensive lineman Jesse Newman was what everybody was talking about.

The 27-year-old participated in running drills with the rest of the Calgary Stampeders, hitting the field for the first time since his abrupt retirement just before training camp.

“A lot of guys were real happy to see me, but it’s hard to come back in this situation,” Newman said. “There are a lot of guys that are a little bitter that I went home for the summer, and now I’m back and they’re kicking ass. A lot of people might perceive that the wrong way — that I’m sitting at home and they’re doing good and, all of a sudden, I want to come back, which is ridiculous.

“I’m trying to prove those guys wrong. I have to come in here like a rookie and completely re-establish myself on this team. And pretty much, the most important is just earning the guys’ respect back.”

Newman was Calgary’s starting left guard for two seasons but hung up his cleats two days before training camp, citing personal reasons. He called John Hufnagel about a week ago to indicate he’d like to return to the team and had a face-to-face meeting with the Stamps head coach before the squad jetted to Vancouver for Friday’s 48-35 victory over the B.C. Lions.

“He came to the realization that football is important to him,” Hufnagel said. “Whatever mid-life crisis he had to come to, his original decision is no longer there ... He’s decided that he wants to unretire, and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Newman didn’t speak with reporters after announcing his retirement but offered an explanation Sunday morning, saying he was home-sick and returned to B.C. for the summer. He’s even lost a few pounds, with 300 lb. remaining on his 6-foot-4 frame.

“There was no easy way to say it, so that’s why I didn’t really say much when I left,” Newman said. “Something was calling me from B.C. I had to go home.

I had to be home for a summer, and that’s exactly what happened. I was just hanging out with all my friends and family and just doing a bunch of summer stuff that I’ve missed out on for the last 10 years.

“Then, a couple weeks ago, I was watching one of the Stamps games and I was just missing it incredibly. Incredibly. It just hit me, all of a sudden, that I needed to be back here.”

He’s hoping to stick around for a while.

Hufnagel has time to decide whether to add Newman to the roster. With elder statesman Dan Comiskey taking care of business at left guard, there’s no obvious spot for him.

“I hope Huf keeps me on this team,” Newman said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he trades me or releases me. We’ve got ridiculously good depth right now.

“I completely understand Huf’s decision is going to be tough.”

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca


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