Big start for Washington
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
|New Calgary Stampeders offensive lineman Tony Washington at McMahon Stadium for his first day of practice in Calgary, Alberta, on June 18, 2011. (MIKE DREW/QMI Agency)
The offensive line was in a state of flux this season, and now a giant change is being made.
Tony Washington, all 6-foot-7, 295-lb. of him, will start at right tackle for the Calgary Stampeders against the Edmonton Eskimos Saturday in place of Stanley Bryant.
When the Stamps signed Washington, the move drew headlines for his checkered past, but the Abilene Christian product was well received with the hoggies.
He steps into a group that welcomed back Dimitri Tsoumpas back into the fold last week, and now, the two need to work together standing side by side.
“He’s a cool guy, so it hasn’t been a problem,” said Tsoumpas about Washington’s history. “Obviously, he’s very talented. Any time you get a guy with at much talent, it’s a huge plus.
“One of the things they do here is find guys who work hard. He fits that mould.”
Washington has waited a long time for a chance to show what he can do in a professional league.
He was passed over in the NFL draft, and it seemed the reason was his record as a sex offender. He was charged eight years ago for having consensual sex with his 15-year-old sister.
Now that he has a chance, the 25-year-old couldn’t be more excited.
“I don’t focus on anything in the past,” Washington said. “I think about tomorrow. I think about later today and studying.
“Everybody is good. This is one of the best locker-rooms I’ve been in besides Abilene Christian. This is a great place to be. Calgary is a great city. They did their homework when they got these players.”
Despite getting to suit up wearing No. 60 Saturday against the Eskimos, Washington isn’t certain he’s made it quite yet. He expects more of himself than just one game.
“You are always trying to do more,” Washington said. “No matter what level you are at, you need to do more. I’ve always had the attitude that I’m staying humble. That’s how you go get things.”