Canadian QB survives in Calgary

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:21 PM ET

CALGARY -- The day after he played in his first Canadian Football League pre-season game, Brad Sinopoli sat down and watched a replay of the game on TV.

The 23-year-old quarterback was a little taken aback with what he saw.

"I think I had a smile on my face the whole time," Sinopoli said on Thursday. "When I was watching it, I thought, 'I don't remember smiling that much.' It was a lot faster than practice. I had fun."

The story on Canadian quarterbacks in the CFL, of course, is that there is not much of a recent one. When Danny Brannagan was set adrift by the Argos last week, Sinopoli became the lone home-grown quarterback on a CFL roster.

Where Brannagan went through the Canadian draft in 2010 untouched before he signed with the Argos as a free agent, Sinopoli was drafted 29th overall by the Calgary Stampeders this past May.

Sinopoli won the Hec Crighton Award last season as a member of the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, passing for 2,756 yards and 22 touchdowns. With a year of eligibility left, Sinopoli acknowledged he did not think he would be the Stamps' third-string quarterback this soon.

"I hoped I would be in this position, but I kind of thought I would play out my last year, finish school," the Peterborough native said. "It came a year sooner. It's awesome."

Stamps head coach and general manager John Hufnagel had no choice but to parachute in Michael Bishop this week when Drew Tate suffered a shoulder injury. Bishop will be the first guy in against the Argonauts if Henry Burris is hurt, Hufnagel said.

It's not a shot at Sinopoli, who simply is too green to legitimately guide the Stamps offence. But for Hufnagel, there is potential in the 6-foot-4, 210-pound quarterback.

"He has done an excellent job," Hufnagel said. "He came in and had a good understanding early on about the reads. More right than wrong as far as where he is going with the football. Now he just has to catch up with all the other stuff that goes through a quarterback's mind."

Burris likes the kid, and noted Sinopoli's desire to soak up as much as he could.

"Smart kid, borderline cocky, a lot of confidence," Burris said. "I've seen guys on both sides of the barrel, CFL and NFL, and he reminds me of any of them. He throws a great ball, but he is making better decisions as he continues and that is what you look for in a young guy."

Against the B.C. Lions on June 15, Sinopoli completed five of 11 passes for 33 yards. Not monumental numbers, but a start nonetheless.

In the end, Sinopoli wants to be seen as a quarterback, not a Canadian quarterback.

"I don't think about how many other Canadian guys there are in the league, or am I the last standing," Sinopoli said. "It is up to us, not up to the coaches. They are not trying to discriminate against Canadians. It's up to Canadians to show we can make it up that much quicker and stay on a roster."

terry.koshan@sunmedia.ca

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