Rambo off the bench

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:55 AM ET

CALGARY - Ken-Yon Rambo left a defensive back in his dust, accelerated under a deep pass and darted into the endzone, then turned to a group of reporters standing nearby and offered up a sound-byte.

With artificial crowd noise screaming from the loudspeaker during Wednesday’s practice at McMahon Stadium, nobody was certain what the Calgary Stampeders slotback had said.

The message, however, was clear.

“I said, ‘That should answer all y’all questions,’ ” Rambo said after practice.

Stamps head coach John Hufnagel officially answered the questions a few minutes earlier, confirming the 32-year-old receiver would return to Calgary’s lineup for Friday’s showdown with the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium.

With the Stamps heading into their bye-week, there was speculation they wouldn’t rush Rambo, who has been slowed this summer by Achilles tendinitis.

Linebacker Juwan Simpson (knee) and fullback Rob Cote (knee) are among the regulars not making the trip to Regina, but Rambo doesn’t need anymore time to heal.

“We like to go into our bye weeks with Ws, so this is a real big game,” Rambo said. “And I want to play, just straight up like that. I want to help out my team. I want to go out there and perform.”

When healthy, few pass-catchers in the three-down football ranks have performed at the same level as Rambo.

He won the CFL’s receiving crown in 2008, racking up 1,473 yards and eight touchdowns, and had a league-high half-dozen 100-yard outings last year despite missing the first four games on the CFL’s regular-season schedule.

As Rambo assembled reporters for Wednesday’s post-practice scrum, he was teased by teammate Nik Lewis, the tough-as-nails slotback who joined the scribes and asked, “How’s it feel to sit out of practice all week and go play a game?”

“Hey, I’m just trying to be like you, Nik Lewis,” Rambo replied.

The availability of both for Friday’s game is great news for the Stamps (4-2) as they attempt to win a fourth consecutive road game.

Rambo missed last week’s victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at McMahon Stadium but proved during Wednesday’s practice he’ll be able to do his job at full-speed this week.

With backup receiver Landan Talley suffering a dislocated shoulder against the Tabbies, the next option on the depth chart would have been rookie Jake Allen.

“(Rambo) feels good, and he ran well, so he’ll be playing,” Hufnagel said. “The reason I’m playing Ken-Yon Rambo is because he’s Ken-Yon Rambo. He’s a starter, and he’s healthy enough to play.

“Whether it’s Ken-Yon Rambo or any other starter, if he’s healthy enough to

play, he’s playing.”

You can count Stamps quarterback Henry Burris among those who believe the former Ohio State Buckeyes star is healthy enough to make a difference this week.

“We connected on a long one in practice there. I saw the acceleration that he’s known to have, and he went and got that ball,” Burris said. “When you see him running around like that, making plays happen, you definitely know that he’s ready to go. To see him out here, cutting and running very precise routes with precision, and the way he’s known to run them, you know definitely that he’s ready to go.

“And come game day, he’s definitely going to open it up more and make things happen.”

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca

Twitter.com/SUNGilbertson


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