Locke's career gets new life

Stampeders running back Derrick Locke fields a kick during a pre-season game against the Eskimos in...

Stampeders running back Derrick Locke fields a kick during a pre-season game against the Eskimos in Calgary, Alta., June 15, 2012. (JIM WELLS/QMI Agency)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:26 PM ET

CALGARY - Derrick Locke’s timing is enough to make one sick to their stomach.

When the University of Kentucky product was headed to a free-agent workout with the Calgary Stampeders this off-season, he came down with a case of food poisoning.

Out of sight, out of mind.

The Stamps liked what they saw from the running back during his NCAA career and a short stint with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles last summer, but since he wasn’t able to take the field, he couldn’t earn a training-camp invite.

Instead, the Stamps signed Bryson Tucker.

Maybe the Stamps were destined to get Locke all along.

After Friday’s pre-season outing against the Edmonton Eskimos, the Stamps released Tucker, who fumbled on special teams, and brought Locke on board.

He arrived in camp Monday, a couple of months after thinking his football career was finished.

“I thought, ‘That’s life,’ and it’s something I have to be put behind me and move forward,” the 23-year-old said. “I have kids to take care of, so I can’t wait to see what would happen.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do. I thought football was over.”

Through two practices, Stamps GM/head coach John Hufnagel likes what he has seen in the 5-foot-8, 188-pounder.

There is definitely a need for a speedy, change-of-pace running back with the Stamps.

Jon Cornish provides the power as the No. 1 running back, and he will carry the mail this season.

Backup LaMarcus Coker showed in five games last season he can be explosive, but Coker left the win over the Eskimos with a knee injury.

Locke could be put in the same position Coker was a year ago when he spent time on the practice roster getting acclimated to the CFL game.

Eventually, a chance will come.

“He’s an interesting young man,” Hufnagel said about Locke.

“He came in and is immersed in the playbook. He understands a great deal, so he might be ready to play Friday night.”

Coker isn’t going to play against the Roughriders in Regina, which should give Locke the opportunity to get some carries.

“I’m glad I do get another chance to play football,” said Locke, who was working as a travel agent after getting cut by the Eagles.

“I go to work and this isn’t work for me. This is what I love to do. When you don’t love it, it’s work.

“When you do love it, you can stay with it a long time. When I was doing a nine-to-five job, I hated it. I dreaded it every day.”


Videos

Photos