CALGARY - Keon Raymond standing on the sidelines in street clothes was an unusual sight for the Calgary Stampeders.
Since joining the Stamps in 2008, the 29-year-old has bounced back and forth from linebacker to his current cornerback position, but there was always one constant …
He was on the field.
So when Raymond went down with a groin injury in the first half of the July 12 road loss to the Montreal Alouettes and missed the next two contests with the malady, his ironman streak was snapped at 60 regular-season CFL games.
But the vocal leader is expected to be back in the Stamps’ defensive backfield Thursday against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after two solid practices coming off the bye-week.
“We’re testing it out right now,” Raymond said. “I wanted to practice and make sure I could go full speed. I’ll know sometime later in the week if it’s a full go.
“It felt good. I feel like I’m coming back from a vacation, so your legs feel good.”
Stamps head coach/GM John Hufnagel is counting on having his opportunistic cover corner on the field.
“He’s had two good days of practice,” said Hufnagel of Raymond. “Unless something flares up over the next two days, he’ll be going.”
Watching from the sidelines isn’t something Raymond wants to get accustomed to.
“It’s been hurtful — watching the thriller (against the Saskatchewan Roughriders) and then watching the next one (against the B.C. Lions) where we kind of got slapped around — knowing you could do something while you’re out there,” said Raymond, a 5-foot-10, 204-lb product of Middle Tennessee State University. “My biggest thing was just trying to make sure I talk to the guys if I see anything out there on the field.”
While some players will rehab quietly and leave everything up to the coaches and the healthy guys on the field, Raymond, who was a West Division all-star in 2011 after picking off five passes and taking two of those interceptions to the house, feels he needs to play a bigger role.
“Just me being a leader and a veteran on the team — this is my fifth year in the CFL, and we’ve got a lot a lot of first year guys out there — they might not see some of the things I can see just by watching the game,” Raymond added.
R Johnny Forzani (illness) may not be available Thursday in Hamilton … OT Na’Shan Goddard and LS Tim St. Pierre both look to be done for the season with ACL injuries … Thursday will mark the final time the Stamps take to the Ivor Wynne Stadium field in a regular-season tilt. The Ticats are expected to play at a temporary home in 2013 before moving into a new stadium in time for the ’14 season.
On Twitter: @SUNMitchell