DeAngelis back on scene of his best feats

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:18 AM ET

Sandro DeAngelis may be in different colours now, but he’s kept the same ritual to remind him where he came from.

When the kicker goes out to play in the CFL, he writes the initials of family members on his armbands as a way to remember those who supported his goal of becoming a pro football player.

Now that he’s added two kids since starting out with the Calgary Stampeders back in 2005, the letters have spilled over from one arm to the other.

“The one wrist band is my old family, my mom, my dad and my brothers,” DeAngelis said. “The other wrist band is the new family. It’s my wife and kids. That’s how it evolved over the years.”

When the 29-year-old kicker steps on the field Friday night at McMahon Stadium, his new football family will be facing his old one.

He can’t help but let it become emotional in his first return to the city where the CFL’s most accurate kicker of all-time got his career started as an undrafted free agent.

It was a wild roller-coaster five years.

During his time in Calgary, DeAngelis got married, had his first son, Max, helped the Stampeders win a Grey Cup in 2008 — while winning the top Canadian award — and picked up CFL special teams player-of-the-year honours.

He also rubbed people the wrong way with celebratory dances after game-winning field-goals and ruffled feathers with his post-Grey Cup news conference, and there are also a fight in practice with Stamps punter Burke Dales last season.

When he left this February as a free agent, Stamps receiver Nik Lewis said winning changed DeAngelis and he wasn’t the same person.

Now that he’s gone with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the Stamps have moved on, but it’s clear plenty of people respect what DeAngelis did for the organization.

“I’m not going to be thinking of the past,” DeAngelis said about Friday’s game when the Stamps host the Tiger-Cats

(8 p.m., TSN, QR77 am). “It will be business as usual.

“It was home for five years, and there were a lot of great memories. It will feel really good to step on the field. So many great things happened there. There were so many great people who helped me along the way and made my five years there wonderful.”

During his time with the Stampeders, DeAngelis struggled when he went home to play the Tiger-Cats.

Before this season started, he was 8-of-14 at Ivor Wynne Stadium, and he began this year 11-of-18 at home before hitting on his last three.

It turned around mid-season when he had a session with former Ticats kicker Paul Osbaldiston.

“This is the hardest stadium to play in,” DeAngelis said. “I came here five times as a visitor, and I struggled, but

I thought it was a coincidence.There are a lot of tricks to this place. The flags all blow in different directions, and I don’t know how that’s possible. You have to learn the tricks.”

As DeAngelis came out of early-season struggles, going 2-of-4 in Week 2 against the Stampeders when one field-goal attempt was missed and returned 105 yards and another was blocked, the Ticats have improved at the same rate.

After beating the Montreal Alouettes 40-3 last week, the Ticats are riding a three-game win streak into McMahon.

“This team reminds me of the team I played with in Calgary,” DeAngelis said. “In Calgary, we had to get over the psychological hump in beating the B.C. Lions.

“Once we finally did, it snowballed, and we became Grey Cup champs. This team reminds me a lot of the same things. We had some early ups and downs. We learned from those mistakes.

“That psychological hump of beating Montreal is now done. I’m now looking forward to the stretch-run. We knew this team was good, but we needed some time to develop that chemistry.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/ianbusby57


Videos

Photos