October 10, 2012
Anwar Stewart to get a look
By RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency
The way defensive linemen have gone down to injury this season for the Calgary Stampeders, you’d think there’s a chance DeVone Claybrooks could come out of retirement.
Sure, Claybrooks has moved into the role of defensive line coach for the Stampeders, but it wasn’t that long ago he was chasing down quarterbacks for the Red & White.
Knowing how dire the situation is becoming, could he be getting the itch?
“Not at all,” Claybrooks replied.
“With a capital H-E-L-L N-O.”
The team may turn to another blast from the past to help them in that troubled position.
Anwar Stewart, who started his CFL career in the Stampede City before spending 10 seasons with the Montreal Alouettes, will be brought to Calgary and given a look.
“We’ve had some conversations,” Stampeders GM/head coach John Hufnagel said after Tuesday’s practice at McMahon Stadium.
“Who knows, he may be in the building tomorrow.
“He has a bunch of experience. Right now, we’re a little young at that defensive end position, Charleston Hughes and Kenny Pettway are fighting the foot injuries. We’re hoping Anwar can come in and prove he’s in shape and can play.
“We’ll find that out.”
Beyond Hughes and Pettway, the Stampeders have five defensive linemen on the nine-game injury list: Justin Phillips, Chris McCoy, Kevin Dixon, Michael Stover and Dorian Smith.
The team hoped Stevie Baggs would be the answer when he arrived after attending the Baltimore Ravens camp a month ago, but his quadriceps injury has been slower to heal than hoped.
Baggs appeared close to ready a week ago when he participated fully in practice, but has since taken a step back.
“Unfortunately, this thing is lingering on and on,” Hufnagel said of Baggs, who didn’t practice Tuesday.
“I had to go in a different direction at this time. There’s hope Stevie will be able to participate before the year’s over.”
Stewart, 36, spent the bulk of the 2001 season on the Stampeders practice roster, but played in one game. After being released, he was signed by the Alouettes and thrived.
He was named the CFL’s top defensive player in 2004, in which he had 21 tackles, nine sacks and four interceptions, and was twice named to the league’s all-star team.
The three-time Grey Cup champion is the Alouettes all-time leader in sacks with 66.
He finished last season with 36 tackles, seven sacks and one interception.
Claybrooks, who is 19 months younger than Stewart, knows plenty about him, having been teammates for a couple of seasons in Montreal.
“He had what, seven, eight sacks last year? He can rush the passer,” Claybrooks said. “He gives the intangibles of leadership.
“He’s a consummate pro and a team player, doing whatever is needed of him to be successful. You can see that in his years in Montreal.
“As a D-line, you want to get the best group together to get a playoff push. As a defensive unit, you want to get better and it’s one of those areas we think we can get better.”