Everybody loves Stamps' Raymond

Stampeders defender Keon Raymond. (LYLE ASPINALL/QMI Agency file photo)

Stampeders defender Keon Raymond. (LYLE ASPINALL/QMI Agency file photo)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:50 AM ET

CALGARY - Keon Raymond has finally won on wheel of fortune.

Maybe this is how the Calgary Stampeders conduct every off-season. The six defensive positions Raymond can play are put on a board and the wheel is spun.

Where it lands, that’s where he plays.

This year, it hit on boundary cornerback, the spot that was at one point occupied by all-Canadian Brandon Browner, who’s now in the NFL.

Just a theory. It’s hard to explain why one of the team’s best defenders never keeps the same starting job.

“They might be using a wheel,” Raymond said with a laugh. “I’m excited about the boundary corner though.

“I played there when I was in college. I got a bit of a taste there when Browner was hurt and I got a chance to play (the position in 2009).

“It feels like home though. This could be a spot that

I could stay in, get established and make something happen.”

Whoa, Keon. Hold on a second. Every time you become an impact player somewhere, you tend to get moved.

Last season, Raymond was at field halfback, where he flourished by making big plays, such as his 117-yard interception return TD against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

By the end of the season, he was at short-side linebacker, the position he manned in 2010, due to an injury to Brandon Isaac.

In 2009, Raymond was a backup at corner and played a bit of halfback. When he arrived in Calgary in 2008, he started at safety.

“Keon is versatile player,” halfback Brandon Smith said. “We feel comfortable wherever he’s lined up. He fits right in.

“He moves around and feels comfortable playing all the positions.”

It was at boundary cornerback that Raymond finally broke through as a starter in 2009.

Browner went down with a knee injury and missed nearly a month, but Raymond filled in admirably.

Ever since, he’s been part of the secondary in some capacity, just not necessarily in the same spot very often.

“It was refreshing because

I played it in college,” Raymond said about his ’09 stint. “Brandon told me he had to hurry up and get back because I was playing too well.”

Now that both Raymond and Smith are on the short-side of the field, the two veterans are enjoying lining up next to each other full-time.

Having been together since ’08, the two good friends can read each other well.

Raymond was the player’s choice at Presidents’ Ring winner for 2011, but Smith was the media’s choice for defensive player of the year.

The two should battle it out again for top performer.

“We have confidence that if they throw it our way, it’s our ball just as well as any other receivers,” Smith said. “We’re going to compete and see who walks out with the interception trophy this year.

“There will be some prize of some sort.

“We will make it a lot of competition. It’s fun having something to fight for.”

As good as Raymond feels at his new spot, he knows not to get cozy. The wheel could start spinning again, just as quickly as someone gets hurt.

“It seems whenever I get comfortable at a spot, I get moved,” Raymond said. “I’m trying not to get comfortable.

“I don’t mind as long as I’m on the field.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNIanBusby


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