Any role important to Claybrooks

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:22 AM ET

CALGARY - He’s an established veteran, a team leader and despite being healthy, he’s watched the past two games in street clothes.

And no, his name is not Joffrey Reynolds.

Lost in the commotion caused by Reynolds’ demotion is the fact Calgary Stampeders defensive tackle DeVone Claybrooks has been a scratch for two consecutive games, including Saturday’s 40-3 rout of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“We’ve both been in this business for a long time and we know what it is and what it ain’t. You just make the best of the situation,” Claybrooks said. “You’re not going to win against the house. The house always wins. So you have to know your role in the house, and no one man in bigger than the family.

“We know that we’re not bigger than the whole family, so we accept our role — whether it’s on the sideline, whether it’s Joffrey helping (Jon) Cornish or (LaMarcus) Coker, because he’s very instrumental in the tutelage of those guys and their progression, or whether it’s me helping the defensive line.”

Reynolds, the Stamps’ all-time leading rusher, was a spectator for first-team reps in Tuesday’s soggy practice at McMahon Stadium and — barring an injury to Cornish or Coker — will be scratched again for Saturday’s first-place showdown with the Lions at B.C. Place Stadium.

Claybrooks lost his starting gig to rookie Torrey Davis for Touchdown Atlantic II in Moncton, N.B., and was scratched again last weekend, although the broad-shouldered tackles could be hunting quarterbacks together in B.C.

The odd-man out will likely be linebacker Malik Jackson, who was working with the scout team in Tuesday’s practice while non-import Karl McCartney and rookie Daren Stone split snaps at his usual spot on the wide side.

Claybrooks has appeared in 11 games for the Stamps this season, collecting 30 tackles and one sack.

A Super Bowl champion with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002-03 and a veteran of five CFL campaigns, he’s been equally valuable in tutoring Calgary’s up-and-comers on the defensive front four.

“It’s very tough (to sit out), but I want to get into coaching when I’m done anyway, so it gives you a bit of a head-start,” Claybrooks said. “As the elder statesman on the defensive line, you make sure the guys are well-tuned because you can play vicariously through them.”

The Stamps’ defensive line created havoc against the Roughriders, generating four sacks and two forced fumbles.

They’ll be shooting to replicate that success against the streaking Lions (7-6), who have rattled off six straight victories and are just two points behind the Stamps (8-5) in the division standings.

And Claybrooks is hoping to be a part of it.

“This is why you play professional football,” Claybrooks said. “First place on the line. Tiebreaker for the series. You can go up four points, plus you get the head-to-head ...

“There’s all those motivational factors. And there’s the biggest spotlight. It’s the biggest game of the week.”


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