Arthur starts to catch fire

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:06 AM ET

CALGARY - Jabari Arthur has a bit of decorating to do during the bye-week.

The Calgary Stampeders slotback left Mosaic Stadium with a special memento after notching his first CFL touchdown in Friday’s 45-35 road win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and he’s been saving space for the football in a trophy case at his mother’s house in Montreal.

“I’m going to have to dust off a spot, because I’ve been chasing my first touchdown for three seasons now,” Arthur said. “I’m just happy I got the first one. I’m excited about it.

“I said my first touchdown, I’m going to dedicate it to my father. He passed away a few years back. I got my first touchdown, so definitely it’ll go beside his picture.”

It’s been about nine years since Hollis Arthur succumbed to cancer, making Jabari’s touchdown against the Roughriders an emotional moment for the entire family.

“He definitely was watching,” Arthur said of his late father.

And his mother, Genise?

“I know she’s very, very proud,” Arthur said. “Hopefully, that’s my first one, and it’s not my last, and I’ll give her the second one.”

It might’ve felt like his second major.

One week earlier, during the Stamps’ 32-20 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Arthur appeared to make an incredible diving grab in the corner of the endzone. It was originally ruled a touchdown but was overturned after the Tiger-Cats tossed a challenge flag and replays showed the ball skidding on the turf.

“No yellow flags this week,” Arthur said with a grin after Friday’s game at Mosaic Stadium.

“I really thought I had a touchdown last week, and unfortunately, it was taken away. It just made me a little more hungry to go get the next one. I said, ‘Hopefully, when I get the next opportunity, I’m going to catch it and going to make sure there’s no need for any (challenge) flags.’ ”

Friday’s victory marked the most productive outing of Arthur’s professional pigskin career.

The former University of Akron Zips standout led all Stamps receivers with seven catches for 93 yards in Regina, more than doubling his season totals in both categories.

“This is his coming-out party. He definitely deserves all the praise, and he should be the Canadian player of the week,” said Stamps quarterback Henry Burris. “The guy is a big man. He’s playing more aggressive. He’s feeling more confident that no matter where the ball is around him, he’s able to make the play.

“Just to see him responding that way and be able to play the type of ball he’s playing now, it’s only going to make our offence much better.”

Arthur has always had loads of potential, but the 28-year-old has struggled with injuries, limited to only 18 appearances over his first three CFL campaigns.

He was actually shipped to Winnipeg as part of the Romby Bryant-Odell Willis swap nearly two years ago but was released before suiting up for the Blue Bombers and was offered another chance to contribute to the Stamps attack.

He’s starting to make the most of it.

“That’s two weeks in a row where he’s stepped up and made some plays. He really had an excellent evening,” said Stampeders GM/head coach John Hufnagel.

“It’s good to see, because he’s had, so far, kind of a bad-luck career, but he’s worked hard ever since I’ve been around him, and I always had confidence that he could be a good receiver in this league.

“He’s playing that way right now.”

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca

Twitter.com/SUNGilbertson


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