Pettway in for hurtin' Stampeders

Kenny Pettway will jump straight into the fire for the Stampeders  debuting Monday during the...

Kenny Pettway will jump straight into the fire for the Stampeders debuting Monday during the Labour Day Classic. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI Agency)

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:31 AM ET

CALGARY - Kenny Pettway has done a complete one-eighty.

Two years ago, he was wearing those dreadful green and gold jerseys and had been brainwashed into thinking the Stampeders were the bad guys.

The former Edmonton Eskimo sees the error of his ways now that he's made a home in Calgary.

"I've got some friends up there ... off the field," Pettway said. "On the field, it's a different story.

"I feel I've got something to prove to them when we play.

"It's going to be a high-intensity, emotional game for me."

The defensive lineman led the Eskimos in 2010 with seven sacks and tried to make in the NFL last season. The Stamps snatched him up in June.

So he wants to prove the Esks should have brought him back in their fold.

And it appears he'll have plenty of chances to make his old mates pay.

The 6-foot-4, 248-pounder will slide into the spot vacated by Chris McCoy, who tore up his knee last weekend in Regina.

"It's unfortunate he got hurt like that," Pettway said. "It was a freak accident.

"But when stuff like that happens, you have to be ready to step in and take the bull by the horns.

"He was a great player, pressuring the quarterback and getting sacks. So, I have big shoes to fill."

Pettway, who was drafted by the Houston Texans and played played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Green Bay Packers prior to arriving in the CFL, has patiently waited for this opportunity.

"It's always difficult to wait," Pettway said. "But I see myself as a team player. You play your role, and if they ask you to come in and play 17 plays or 20 plays, then that's what you do.

"You can't let anything get in the way and cause a ruckus with the team, because that breaks apart the bond."

It's not like Pettway will come into the game cold. He's suited up for a handful of outings this season and taken regular reps in practice all year.

"That has more than prepared me," Pettway said. "And the team we're playing this week prepared me even more.

"I'm super-excited to be out here playing this week."

The 29-year-old said it didn't take him long to figure out just how much the provincial rivals detested each other.

"In my first year, I could feel the intensity around (the rivalry)," he said. "You know it's big when you play a game Monday and then again Friday against the same team.

"My family's coming for it. When I played (for the Esks), they picked this game to come to."

Pettway is no stranger to big rivalries.

In his college days, he played in the Bayou Classic -- between his Grambling State University Tigers and the Southern University Jaguars.

"It was the same thing at college," Pettway said. "(The biggest rival) was Southern.

"People down there say 'I don't care what you win, but you win the Bayou Classic.'

"People around here say 'I don't care what you win, but you'd better beat Edmonton. You better win the Labour Day Classic.' "

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNScottFisher


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