Kickin' Stamps kicker while he's downSkeptics pile on injured Maver
By WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency
|Stampeders kicker Rob Maver.
CALGARY - Thousands booed Rob Maver’s misses.
Apparently, some people — fans might not be the right word — figured the message still needed to be delivered.
In the hours after the worst performance of his professional career, plus news that he would be sidelined indefinitely with a tear in his right quadriceps muscle, the Calgary Stampeders sophomore kicker was the target of several personal attacks on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.
“At the end of the day, people are entitled to their opinion, and I can understand why they feel that way,” Maver said. “If it’s coming to my cellphone or not, I know what people are thinking and I understand it. It’s nothing that I wasn’t expecting.”
Talk about kicking a guy while he’s down.
Maver missed three of four field-goal attempts in Friday’s 23-21 loss to the Toronto Argonauts, accepting responsibility afterward for costing his team two points in the home-opener at McMahon Stadium.
About two hours after the final whistle, teammate Johnny Forzani revealed via Twitter that Maver
had a torn quadriceps in his kicking leg. At Saturday’s rundown, Stamps head coach John Hufnagel
confirmed the 25-year-old needs time off and the team will be auditioning replacements sometime Sunday, although they’d rather not explore the trade market or turn to an American-born boot.
There’s no definitive timeline for Maver’s return from the quad injury, which bothered him during training camp and was re-aggravated during Friday’s pre-game warmup. He might need some time to shake off the criticism, too.
“Football is a tough game. It’s played by men for a reason,” Hufnagel said. “You’re going to have certain things happen to you over the course of your career that you have to be mentally strong. This is just one of those bumps in the road for that player.”
As he limped back to the sidelines after pulling a 21-yarder wide left in the third quarter of Friday’s loss, Maver became the umpteenth player to hear boos at McMahon Stadium. The post-game criticism, though, came in a form previous generations never had to worry about.
Prior to Saturday’s rundown, Maver re-tweeted a post from one online naysayer suggesting “you belong in a ‘just for fun’ flag football league.”
The former first-round draft choice admitted he thought that particular message was funny, but they didn’t all fall into that category.
“There were other, much more personal attacks that were sent to my Facebook private inbox and to my Twitter private message box,” Maver said. “It comes with the territory of being a professional athlete. I make a 23-yard field goal last year in Hamilton and everybody is saying all these great things about me. In hindsight, if I missed that kick, I’m at the bottom of the Bow River the next day, if I’m healthy.
“You’ve gotta put all these different things in perspective. I’m not going to let anything deter from my goals.”
Not long before telling reporters he’ll overcome the physical setback, Maver logged on to Twitter to deliver that message directly to the fans.
“Thank you everybody for your kind words and hate mail. Both motivate me,” Maver wrote. “When I get healthy, I’ll be better, that’s a promise.”