Stamps trade away their problems

The Stampeders have shipped offensive lineman Jesse Newman to the Lions in exchange for a...

The Stampeders have shipped offensive lineman Jesse Newman to the Lions in exchange for a second-round draft pick and a conditional fourth-round pick. (LYLE ASPINALL/QMI Agency)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:47 PM ET

In the end, John Hufnagel didn't need Jesse Newman, and the Calgary Stampeders head coach certainly didn't want a locker-room distraction.

The Stamps shipped the third-year Canadian offensive lineman to the B.C. Lions in exchange for a second-round draft pick and a conditional fourth-round pick.

The trade ends an unnecessary tense situation for the high-flying 7-1 Stamps.

Two days before training camp started, Newman abruptly retired with no explanation as to why.

On Sunday, he returned to the team with the attempt of making a comeback.

Earlier in the week, Nik Lewis told the Sun he wasn't pleased to see Newman back, and the receiver basically put words to the general feeling throughout the team.

It's all over now that the Powell River, B.C., native is gone to the Lions.

"(Team chemistry) came into the decision-making process," Hufnagel said. "Jesse tried hard to mend some fences. It was going to take a long period. We have the depth, knock on wood I continue to have depth.

"If we kept him, I would have to get rid of someone else.

"I didn't want to do that. It was better for the player and better for the team."

Lewis declined to give Newman another verbal shot as he leaves the team.

"Good luck to him," Lewis said. "He does have talent, and I hope he uses it well in B.C."

Although Newman's retirement in June left the Stamps in a bind, the simple fact is now they don't need him.

At the time, the Stamps were dealing with the retirement of right tackle Jeff Pilon and the loss of NFL-bound right guard Dimitri Tsoumpas.

But veteran Dan Comiskey has played well in a comeback from a year away, and Tsoumpas returned from a short stint with the Miami Dolphins.

Centre Tim O'Neill has quietly enjoyed a solid season and rookie Edwin Harrison solidified the right tackle spot.

Veteran Rob Lazeo is now a backup to O'Neill, and rookie Steve Myddelton showed in six starts this league isn't too much for him.

The 2008 third-overall draft pick played 30 games over the course of two seasons with the Stamps, helping the team win the Grey Cup in his rookie season.

Newman and Tsoumpas were freshmen starters with bright futures back in 2008, but their careers have gone in opposite directions.

At best Newman would have been a backup in Calgary but he will have a chance to play immediately with the Lions, who lost centre Dean Valli to a broken leg Friday night in Montreal.

Right now, the Stamps have the best rushing attack in the CFL and have allowed just 13 sacks -- the lowest total in the league.

"The timing of him coming back wasn't great," said Stamps quarterback Henry Burris.

"Our offensive line this year has done a great job. We didn't need anybody at this time. This game is a lot about timing. Dan Comiskey and Tsoumpas coming back make it so we have young guys waiting in the wings."

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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