Tate to shoulder load

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

CALGARY -- Usually when a CFL player get injured, he's left behind, both from road trips and from the game plan.

By staying with the Calgary Stampeders -- even when they were away from McMahon Stadium -- quarterback Drew Tate felt part of what was happening.

Tate dislocated his left shoulder in pre-season action against the Edmonton Eskimos, but since then, he's made every road trip and witnessed the three road wins in person.

For the last two, he was able to throw to receivers in warmup, and in the past couple of weeks, he's run the scout team offence in practice.

Now, he's ready to take the next step. Tate will be back with the first-team offence Tuesday with the plan of returning to the lineup Saturday against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Even being out of action, Tate hasn't felt out of the loop.

"I told Huf in B.C. on the first trip, 'Thanks for letting me come,' " Tate said of talking to head coach John Hufnagel. "I wanted to. I didn't want to stay back and watch it on TV.

"Very supportive from the coaches and the players through this whole situation. With my deal, they've been talking to me and keeping me involved. It's easy to get hurt, and you are left on the side. I've been lucky they took me on these trips. I've been in all the meetings."

Tate's injury was the first of many blows to the Stampeders offence this season. The team has played games without receivers Ken-Yon Rambo and Arjei Franklin, fullback Rob Cote and offensive lineman Dimitri Tsoumpas.

The QB was running away from pressure when he went down and had an Eskimos player land on his arm, dislocating the shoulder.

The prognosis was four to six weeks, and this is his sixth week being sidelined, so he's right on target.

When Tate went out, the Stamps signed veteran Michael Bishop, and he's done a fine job in short-yardage run situations. Stamps head coach John Hufnagel hasn't decided if Bishop will be released once Tate returns to action, or who will dress between Bishop and rookie Brad Sinopoli as the third-stringer.

Tate grew into the short-yardage role last year, and his throwing ability gave the Stamps options around the goal-line rather than just running the ball or handing off.

The injury could have hurt the 26-year-old's development, but the Iowa product actually feels like he's learned aspects of the game by observing from the sidelines.

"Poise in the pocket," Tate said. "I watch (Henry Burris), and he's shown a lot of poise in the pocket. He's also made a lot of plays with his feet.

"I haven't been watching these games as a backup quarterback. I've been watching them as a spectator, a coach or a teammate.

"It's been a real positive thing. It should help my play this season and in the future."

With a dislocation, there is a chance of re-injury, but Tate feels the shoulder is strong and 100% ready to take a hit.

"If it happens, it happens. I can't think about it," Tate said. "I can't have my head there because it will get in the way of what you are doing.

"You really have to put it in the box and throw it away. You can't think about that or it gets in the way of your execution."

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