Old Spice loves football life

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:08 PM ET

His name-plate in the locker-room now reads, ‘Man’s Man.’

Slowed by injuries and settling into a revised role in the Calgary Stampeders offence, Ryan Thelwell has been somewhat of a forgotten man so far this CFL season.

“You always want to contribute more,” Thelwell said. “In terms of stats, I don’t really have any stats for this year, but I can only control certain things. When I’m out there, I just have to make the plays that are thrown my way, and I think I’ve done a pretty job of that.

“When they call upon me to go in there and they throw the ball my way, I’ll be ready.”

Lately, what Stamps teammates have been throwing his way is a few jabs.

While Thelwell hasn’t been a frequent contributor on the field this season, thanks to his apparent resemblance to the star of the Old Spice Man’s Man commercials — former NFL-receiver-turned-actor Isaiah Mustafa — Thelwell has become the butt of numerous jokes.

“Every time there’s a new commercial out or a new ad in the paper with that guy in it, it somehow ends up in my locker,” Thelwell said, shaking his head. “That’s all part of the camaraderie and the fun that goes on in the locker-room.

I think he looks nothing like me, but the guys like it, so I’ll roll with it.”

This certainly won’t be remembered as Thelwell’s most productive campaign.

The 37-year-old receiver has already missed five outings with injuries and has just seven receptions for 79 yards and one touchdown to show for the seven games he has played.

With star slotback Nik Lewis returning after missing last week’s loss with a knee injury, it seems unlikely Thelwell will be a major factor in Friday’s first-place showdown with the Montreal Alouettes .

Jabari Arthur has been bumped back into a backup role but will likely be the first homegrown receiver off the bench. With Ken-Yon Rambo, Romby Bryant and non-import Arjei Franklin entrenched as mainstays in the starting offence and speedster Deon Murphy inserted for five-receiver sets, Thelwell will be limited to spot duty against the Alouettes.

After suffering a coulda-been career-ending Achilles injury last summer, though, the 10-year CFL veteran is simply thrilled to have a spot on the roster.

“I’m still out here, and I’m still running around, and I’m happy — that’s all you can ask for,” Thelwell said. “I had an injury that I thought honestly that I’d never be able play again. But I made it back. I’m here. I’m still running around.

“And I still think I can play. And I’m sure if you ask these guys, they’ll say the same thing. If I thought I couldn’t play, I would have retired last year, but I don’t think that’s the case.”

Starting quarterback Henry Burris certainly hasn’t lost faith in his longtime teammate and close friend.

“We know he’s disappointed because he’d like to have more plays and more catches and things like that, but he knows his number is going to be called soon,” Burris said.

“He’s going to have to make some big plays for our team to be successful winning some big games down the stretch. Who knows? It might be this game.”

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/WesGilbertson


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