September 27, 2012
Same ol' role for Armstead for Stamps
By SCOTT MITCHELL, QMI Agency
See the ball. Catch the ball. Protect the ball.
The job description is nothing new for Jason Armstead.
Signed by the Calgary Stampeders two weeks ago after special teams star Larry Taylor suffered a knee injury, Armstead will be back on the field Friday against one his former teams — he’s played for every CFL team except the B.C. Lions and the Toronto Argonauts — with a mandate he’s used to.
“That’s been in my head from peewee football — protecting the hopes and dreams of the team with great ball security,” Armstead said.
“I’ve been brought into this role for the last three years to be able to help an organization and a team out in this area. I’ve kind of gotten used to it.”
Since entering the league in 2004 with the Ottawa Renegades, the 33-year-old has excelled in the return game, dressing 106 times for the Saskatchewan Roughriders (2006-07), the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2007), the Montreal Alouettes (2008), the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2008), and back to the Roughriders (2009), before latching on with the Edmonton Eskimos for the past two seasons.
With the frequent flier miles Armstead has racked up, it’s no wonder he barely noticed he’ll be lining up against the same green and gold silks he wore last season.
“I’ve dealt with that, being released and traded and cut and this team and that team,” Armstead said. “The biggest deal is having an opportunity, whether it be Edmonton or Winnipeg, whoever. I’ve been called to come in and play for the Stampeders. Whoever is next on the schedule is just the pick of the litter.”
Originally signed to the practice squad as an insurance policy, head coach/GM John Hufnagel’s move looked even better when team brass watched LaMarcus Coker pull up lame with a hamstring injury last week in Regina.
“(Armstead) did some damage against us over the years I’ve been in this league,” Hufnagel said.
How long he sticks around is anyone’s guess at this point.
Hufnagel termed Coker’s hamstring injury as “severe” and said the running back will be out “a long time.”
With the import ball-carrier on the limp, the Stamps have added recent Carolina Panthers cut Lyndon Rowells, 24, to the practice squad.
Meanwhile, Taylor continues to rehab from arthroscopic surgery on his knee and is hoping to return within the original three-to-four week window given at the time he was hurt.
The 27-year-old Taylor, who still sits comfortably in the top five in the CFL in combined return yards with 1,456, learned the nuances of the Canadian game from Armstead as a rookie with the Alouettes in 2008.
“He mentored me when I first came into the league, just explaining the game to me and letting me know certain things to look for in the CFL,” Taylor said. “He’s a good guy. He’s proven in this league and every team he’s played on, he’s helped contribute and given the special teams unit a boost.”
Taylor has been impressed with the professionalism Armstead has shown in his two weeks with the Stamps.
“It speaks a lot about the type of character he has,” Taylor said. “No matter how the situation plays out, whether he gets cut or someone is just bringing him in for a period of time, he comes in, he’s a professional, and he gets the job done.”