Bulcke ready for Edmonton

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:26 AM ET

CALGARY - For an entire calendar year, Brian Bulcke was property of the Edmonton Eskimos.

During that entire time, he never stepped foot in the city of Edmonton.

In fact, when the Calgary Stampeders rookie arrives on Saturday in the City of Champions, it will be his first time visiting the Alberta capital in his life.

“It would be great to go in there and play some great football in that stadium,” Bulcke said about the West semifinal Sunday against the Eskimos.

“I arrived (in Calgary) the week after we played Edmonton (in the Labour Day rematch). This will be my first encounter with them. It’s a playoff game against my old team, so it’s pretty exciting.”

The Eskimos made Bulcke a surprise first-round pick in the 2010 draft (sixth overall), but they knew he would be heading back for his final season at Stanford.

On draft day this May, the Stamps sent their second-round pick to the Eskimos in exchange for the defensive tackle, who was at the time waiting out the NFL lockout and trying to get a shot down south.

The San Francisco 49ers, who are coached by Bulcke’s former Stanford bench boss Jim Harbaugh, brought the lineman to camp and he was a final cut.

The Windsor, Ont., native was worth the wait for the Stampeders, and he’s emerged quickly as a starter at the tackle position.

“He’s been a good player for us,” said Stamps head coach John Hufnagel. “He’s been a solid anchor in the defensive line.

“Very seldom does he make an assignment mistake. He knows the game thoroughly and he does what we ask him to do.”

Along with fellow rookie Junior Turner and veteran DeVone Claybrooks, Bulcke has formed a solid wall in the interior of the Stampeders defensive line.

Over the final two games of the regular season, the Stamps bottled up two solid running backs in Montreal’s Brandon Whitaker and Winnipeg’s Chris Garrett.

Bulcke credits the camaraderie he has with linemates for the success. Even after Wednesday’s practice, the trio of tackles were working overtime with the tackling dummies.

“The defensive line is really tight,” Bulcke said. “We have had a d-line supper every few days.”

Bulcke has played eight games with the Stamps, and it was tough adjusting back to Canadian rules. He hadn’t played them since high school in Windsor.

Now the 24-year-old is feeling quite good about going into Edmonton and coming away with a victory.

Had the trade not happened, he might be suiting up on the other side, but he’s happy with the way things worked out.

“It was flattering to be drafted by Edmonton and I was excited to go there,” Bulcke said. “Talking to guys in the league, I was excited to be coming to Calgary.

“When it happened in May, it was nice to know I had a good home waiting. They were receptive during the entire process after the trade … They were ready to bring me in no matter the circumstances.”


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