May 22, 2012
Rambo healthy and motivated
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
As one of the top CFL speedsters over the past seven years, Ken-Yon Rambo is used to outrunning things.
Next up is putting the 2011 season way back in the rearview mirror.
As 2012 training camp approaches for the Calgary Stampeders, their star slotback is ready to make amends for an injury-filled season in which he was held to just 11 regular-season games and only 695 yards.
"It's gone," Rambo said about 2011 from his off-season home in Dallas. "Last year was a rollercoaster. It was a frustrating year for me."
Even when Rambo was in the lineup, there was no question he wasn't 100%. He tweaked his left knee early in the year, and eventually it led to Achilles tendon issues.
He gutted it out most nights, but he wasn't the player he was a year earlier when he put up remarkable numbers (1,172 yards, eight TDs) coming off a rehabbed torn ACL in his right knee.
This off-season, he retreated back to Texas but elected not to have any surgeries. Instead, with a heavy rehab and training schedule, he's emerged as strong as ever.
The 33-year-old is excited to get on the field June 4 when main camp gets underway.
"The legs feel real good," Rambo said. "I'm strong and ready to go. Everything is healthy.
"The key to football is staying healthy as best as you can. I feel awesome right now. This is as good as I've been in a while.
"I'm ready to go, be out there making plays and keeping myself healthy. I want to keep a nice remedy going throughout this season."
With the departures of quarterback Henry Burris (traded to Hamilton) and running back Joffrey Reynolds (released), Rambo is now the second-longest serving import on the team behind fellow slotback Nik Lewis.
The Stampeders were changing over some core players over the past year while Rambo was missing games due to injury.
However, there is no question the team still feels the Ohio State product can be a game-changer when healthy.
GM-head coach John Hufnagel stuck with Rambo when he spent a year (2009) rehabbing a torn ACL, and he's not going to give up on him now, either.
Even with all the work it takes to get ready for a season, it's still worth it to Rambo.
"I like smelling the popcorn when I step out the car at the stadium," Rambo said. "I just love it. This is what I always do.
"I love the game. I love it to death. I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't love it. There is a journey with the team every year. It's always something different.
"There is something about going into the locker-room, the camaraderie and getting prepared to go out and win. There is nothing like it.
"You see the young guys get better. When they come to training camp, they are real green. By mid-season, they are a lot better. You like to see that.
"I remember when I was one of the youngest guys. It seems like yesterday. It's been a great journey and I love it. It will continue."
The Stamps announced the signings of two import defensive backs Tuesday. Joining the team are Fred Bennett (South Carolina) and Chris Rangle (Utah State) "¦ Stamps OL Dimitri Tsoumpas is the team's representative for the CUPS/Stampeders kickoff breakfast Friday at the Hyatt Regency.
On Twitter @SUNIanBusby