Claybrooks retires to become coach

Calgary Stampeders DeVone Claybrooks (AL CHAREST/QMI AGENCY)

Calgary Stampeders DeVone Claybrooks (AL CHAREST/QMI AGENCY)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:08 PM ET

CALGARY - Many times during the 2011 CFL season, DeVone Claybrooks would take young defensive linemen over to the tackle sled and share some of his wisdom.

These informal sessions with Brian Bulcke and Junior Turner were supposed to help his Calgary Stampeders teammates improve during their rookie CFL seasons.

They also provided GM-head coach John Hufnagel with more insight into Claybrooks’ abilities as a coach than any job interview could ever do.

It took a shuffling of positions, but Hufnagel was able to make room for the solid defensive tackle on his coaching staff for the upcoming season.

So in 2012, the 34-year-old former Super Bowl winner will be an official coach instead of an unofficial one.

“Last season gave me a good taste of coaching,” Claybrooks said from Virginia, where his family owns one of three restaurants.

“I paid attention to certain things in meetings that would help me and knew certain things I wanted to work on. I knew there were things that could set things up for success if I paid attention.”

When Claybrooks joined the Stamps in 2009 after two seasons with the Montreal Alouettes, it was to give the defending Grey Cup champions a veteran presence at the tackle position.

The East Carolina product did just that, and for two-and-a-half seasons, the Stamps could lean on the man they call Biscuit to be consistent.

One thing Claybrooks was looking for when he came to the Stamps was a Grey Cup ring. As part of the Alouettes in 2008, it was the Stamps who took one away from him.

The pursuit of a championship continues in a coaching capacity, which would be just as sweet to Claybrooks if it were to happen now.

“It would be complete,” Claybrooks said. “You have to do just as much hard work as a coach.

“You can’t rest on laurels of what you’ve done as a player. I have 10 or so guys, and I have to make sure they are prepared. You have to get them prepared, and you know it will pay off as long as you put the time in.”

The Stamps officially announced their defensive coaching staff for 2012 with Claybrooks joining the fold. Last year’s linebackers coach, Dave Walkosky, has been elevated to defensive co-ordinator, replacing Chris Jones, who went to the Toronto Argonauts, while Tony Missick returns for a second season as defensive backs coach.

The other member of the team’s defensive staff from last season is Brent Monson, who moves to running backs for 2012 to make room for Claybrooks.

Hufnagel may still add another member to the defensive side of the coaching ranks.

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter @SUNIanBusby


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