CALGARY - Chris Bauman knows he can’t do anything about people calling him ‘draft bust’ in reference to his CFL playing career.
Now that he’s entering his sixth season on a third team, the receiver from Brandon, Man., hopes the Calgary Stampeders are finally the right fit.
“I know when given an opportunity, I can make plays,” the 2007 first-overall pick of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats said. “I know I can put up back-to-back 100-yard games.
“I’m just trying to stay focused on what I can control.”
The 27-year-old officially signed Wednesday with the Stampeders after a year spent with the Edmonton Eskimos, where he only played in seven games.
Bauman didn’t find a regular spot with the Eskimos, but he never really played in a position he was comfortable.
In his best performances over four seasons with the Tiger-Cats, Bauman was playing slotback, where his size — 6-foot-4, 220-lb. — should make him an easy target.
Now, he gets a chance to stick it to the Eskimos for releasing him by joining the other side of the Battle of Alberta.
“It’s not just to prove to the Eskimos or anybody,” Bauman said from Cape Corral, Fla., where he and fiancee Katie live during the off-season.
“I want to prove to myself because I know I can do it. I wish I had more of an opportunity to prove it. I’m glad Calgary was willing to sign me. I’m looking for an opportunity there. I want to prove I can be a starter in this league.”
After a sophomore season during which he caught 48 passes for 588 yards and three touchdowns, Bauman appeared to be on the upswing.
Things stalled out when the Ticats signed fellow Canadian Dave Stala and inserted him as the starting slotback.
When the Eskimos won the bidding last year, it appeared they would make Bauman a key piece of their offence, but then circumstances changed, and that team went with imports at the slot positions.
The Stamps are attractive for Bauman because they use two Canadians in their receiving corps, including one in the slot.
“Plus they have a great young quarterback,” said Bauman, referring to Drew Tate.
“You want to get to a place where there will be stability in that position. He looks like he will be there a long time. It’s a great opportunity for me to come in and try to earn a spot.”
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