Ex-NFL mates CFL rivals now

Jamal Richards of the Montreal Alouetts celebrates his touchdown during the 97th CFL Grey Cup in...

Jamal Richards of the Montreal Alouetts celebrates his touchdown during the 97th CFL Grey Cup in Calgary, Alberta, November 28, 2009. AL CHAREST/QMI Agency

Wes Gilbertson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:24 PM ET

CALGARY - Four years ago, Quincy Butler and Jamel Richardson were training camp teammates with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.

Then they lost contact.

Literally.

“It’s been awhile,” Butler said with a grin. “I lost my phone, so I lost everybody’s numbers. You know how that goes.”

Just one week after joining the Calgary Stampeders’ practice roster, Butler has memorized Richardson’s new number — as in, No. 18 for the Montreal Alouettes.

Butler is expected to replace Greg Fassitt (hamstring) in Calgary’s starting lineup for Sunday’s clash with the Alouettes at Molson Percival Stadium, and the 27-year-old cornerback should see a steady dose of Richardson in man-to-man situations.

That’s a tough assignment.

Richardson has racked up 1,661 yards and 11 majors in 15 games so far this season, including a 136-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Stamps in late August. The 29-year-old is running away with the CFL’s receiving title and has already equalled the league record for the most 100-yard outings in a single season with 11.

Although Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo has ripped up the all-time record books this summer, many believe his favourite target should be Montreal’s nominee for the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player award.

“If he’s not the best receiver this year, he’s damn sure one of the best,” said Stamps defensive back Brandon Smith.

“He gives you a lot. He’s going to be physical with you and when the ball comes, he’s going to go up and make the catch. He’s a tough receiver to guard, but I have confidence in our squad and whoever is on him.”

All indications are that will be Butler, who will be making his three-down football debut after NFL stints in Dallas, New Orleans and St. Louis.

Although Richardson didn’t crack the Cowboys’ final roster in 2007, Butler certainly remembers the 6-foot-3 receiver.

“He’s a big guy. He runs good routes. He’s very smart, very patient,” Butler said. “It’s a big challenge that I’m looking forward to. He’s a guy that was in the NFL and has come over here and been successful and been able to maintain greatness over the years here. In Dallas, he was a rookie. It’s vice-versa now. I’ve got to step up.

“He’s a really good player. A lot of guys have a lot of really great things to say about him.”

What they didn’t tell Butler is that his former teammate is also on the brink of making history.

With a 102-yard outing against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last weekend, Richardson joined Hal Patterson (Montreal, 1956), Joey Walters (Saskatchewan, 1981), Terry Greer (Toronto, 1983) and Allen Pitts (Calgary, 1994) as the only CFL receivers to hit the century mark 11 times in one campaign.

If Richardson can finish with triple digits against the Stamps or in the regular-season finale against the B.C. Lions, he won’t have to share the mark.

That’s news to Butler.

“For real? Oh wow,” Butler said. “We can’t let that happen. I hope he gets the record, but not on us. I don’t want it to happen against us. Pride is in the way right now. I want to win, go out there and compete and just make him work for every catch this week.”

EXTRA POINTS

The Red & White are teaming up with the University of Calgary Dinos for a special promotion. If you purchase a ticket for the Stamps’ regular-season finale against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers next Saturday, you’ll also score a seat for the Dinos’ playoff game the previous night ... The Stamps released DE Brandon Sharpe and LB Jason Nugent from their practice roster.


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