Calgary Stampeders lineman Federkeil's comeback nearly complete

Calgary Stampeders OL Dan Federkeil during CFL training camp at McMahon stadium. (DARREN...

Calgary Stampeders OL Dan Federkeil during CFL training camp at McMahon stadium. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI Agency)

SCOTT MITCHELL, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:24 AM ET

CALGARY - If you see a giant man with an ear-to-ear grin, don’t worry, it’s probably just Dan Federkeil.

The fact Federkeil is back on a football field is one thing.

The fact he’s essentially locked down the Calgary Stampeders starting right tackle spot after three-and-a-half years away from the game is something completely different.

It’s a testament to just how athletic the blocking behemoth is.

And it’s only going to get better, he says.

“I’d have to say from where I was (at the start of training camp) to kind of where I think I can still be ... probably 80%,” the 6-foot-6, 297-lb. Medicine Hat product said Friday, following his first game action since late 2009, when concussion issues ended his NFL career with the Indianapolis Colts.

“It’s very rare right now that I’m happy with what I’ve done. In the game, it was more accomplishing a task than really excelling at the position, so I think there’s still a little ways to go until, at least, I’m happy with what’s happening.”

Suiting up Thursday night in Regina was just another step.

“It was a little faster paced than practice and the mock game, so it was a little different,” Federkeil said. “I think it went well, overall.

“I wasn’t too focused on my past. I think I got over that when we started hitting in practice two weeks ago. Other than that, I was just happy to get the pads off and not be screwed up too badly.”

Now, Federkeil is focused on the future — a future that will start next Friday at McMahon Stadium against the B.C. Lions (McMahon Stadium, 8 p.m., TSN, AM770).

“Until someone tells me otherwise, that’s what I’m expecting,” Federkeil said when asked if he’ll be the starter.

“This has been the shortest pre-season of my pro career, but regular season is always what you work for,” he added. “I’m going to be excited to get out there ... Let’s get this season going.”

While Hufnagel wasn’t handing out any roster info Friday, he was impressed with the offensive line play as a whole in Thursday’s 24-23 win over the Riders in Regina.

“I enjoyed our line play from our first unit,” said Hufnagel, who looks set to start four Canadians on the O-line.

“I thought they played well as a unit and Dan definitely was part of it. I thought it was a good first performance.”

Learning a new blocking style has been the biggest adjustment for the 29-year-old, whose rights were acquired back in April from the Toronto Argos.

“Playing with the Colts, it was a little more finesse, a little more technique-based, less of a ‘recreate the line of scrimmage’ than so much as ‘cover up colour with colour,’ ” Federkeil said.

“That’s the biggest difference, for me, and something I need to work on is once contact’s made, don’t just position block them, but actually start moving the line of scrimmage.”

He’s looking forward to getting to know some of the CFL’s best pass-rushers.

“Guys like Stanley (Bryant), they’ll just remember, for the most part, from last year, ‘Oh, I know this guy, he likes to do this or do that,’ and he doesn’t need to watch as much film because he knows their tendencies, so I’ll just go back to what I did with the Colts and spend time just going through the film,” Federkeil said.


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