Lewis won't welcome Newman into Stamps locker-room

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:39 PM ET

Count Nik Lewis as one Calgary Stampeder not happy to see Jesse Newman back in the Red & White locker-room.

Newman, the club's 2008 first-round draft pick, promptly retired in a surprise move two days before training camp started and is now attempting a comeback with the 7-1 Stamps.

Breaking from the tradition of toeing the company line, Lewis had some harsh words Monday for his former -- and now current again -- teammate.

"No comment. I don't like Jesse," Lewis said Monday before teeing it up at the Stampeders charity golf tournament.

"I'm not going to talk about somebody who has retired and come out of retirement. I will talk about people who have been here and put in the work. I won't talk about anybody else."

The last thing the Stampeders need now is any dissent in the locker-room, which may be the case with Newman's return.

Sitting alone in first place, the Stamps are riding a five-game win streak and have put back-to-back whippings on West Division opponents.

However, Newman knows his spot on the roster isn't guaranteed, and mentioned Sunday he could be traded before he has to be activated after 10 days with the team.

His relationship with many players might take years to mend, but first he has to prove he deserves to play.

Over the past two seasons, he was a solid contributor at his position, although he did lose the starting job to Tim O'Neill for a brief period last season.

"He's going to have to win the respect back of many, but it comes with earning the respect of your peers," said Stamps quarterback Henry Burris.

"This is a new year and a new season. To get back into the lineup, it's going to take a lot of hard work and dedication."

Although the offensive line was a big question mark heading into the season, the additions of veteran Dan Comiskey and rookie Edwin Harrison, as well as the emergence of Steve Myddelton and the return of Dimitri Tsoumpas from the NFL have given the team great depth.

They don't need Newman now.

They could have used him in June when things were unsettled.

When Newman came back Sunday, he said he felt he needed to be home in Powell River, B.C., for the summer instead of playing.

The perception is now he's jumping on the bandwagon when things are going well.

"I can understand people being upset," said Stamps defensive tackle DeVone Claybrooks. "But we're not in his shoes. I can't judge anybody. It's a matter of knowing he's going to be here for us when he's out there."

Burris wouldn't go as far as to condemn Newman for his actions as Lewis did, but he admits the 27-year-old has some fences to mend inside the locker-room.

"There is a going to be guys who naysay, and rightfully so," Burris said.

"The timing of the retirement wasn't the best. He had things on his mind he wanted to take care of. We wished him luck in that aspect.

"Once you establish a certain rapport in the locker-room, when you add guys in, they have to work themselves into the fold.

"There are guys who don't know him. Some welcomed him back and some didn't."


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